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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: July 21: Friends with Kids


July 21: Friends with Kids

"Two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships."
Directed by: Jennifer Westfeldt, Rated: R, 107 minutes

Friends with Kids, or the "Bridesmaids Reunion", fails to be anything special or original. It takes a rather ridiculous idea and stretches it across 107 minutes in some remarkably unfathomable way. It tries so hard to be an honest look at relationships, marriage, and having kids, but after all is said and done, it cops out for the cheesy romantic-comedy ending we've all seen billions of times before. Everything about the movie feels forced, and the random injections of over-the-top raunchy comedy are completely out of place. Friends with Kids cannot figure out what it wants to be and tries too hard to be everything it's not. Very few of the characters are even likable, and while Adam Scott does an amazing job in one of his first leading roles, the rest of the (usually talented) cast are just strung along for the ride. For instance, Kristen Wiig has about six minutes of screen time, and for most of those scenes, she doesn't even speak. She's there because she'll draw in fans of Bridesmaids but really her character could be played by any random woman. 

Like Judy Greer, for instance, who has the most chick-flick appearances in cinematic history. 

The story of Friends with Kids is just that. Two best friends, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt), decide that they should just have a kid to get it out of the way so there's none of the nonsense when they meet the one they actually want to love. It's a ridiculously shallow idea and the fact an entire movie is dedicated to the notion is really frustrating. It's hard to tell if Westfeldt (who wrote and directed the film) was trying to be quirky or different as she put the film into fruition, or if she really has no idea what makes a great story. Of course, there are hundreds of reasons why this entire process would go wrong, and while the film touches upon them, most of it gets swept under the rug. Friends with Kids introduces just enough conflict after the kid is born so that the film's conclusion doesn't seem as big of a cop-out as it really is. 

Similar to every Katherine Heigl movie ever made. 

Friends with Kids also features John Hamm, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Edward Burns, and the very out of place Megan Fox. Yes, the Transformers "mega-babe" finds herself in a very important role in this movie and adds absolutely nothing to the entire picture. As previously mentioned, very little of this supporting cast gets the moments to shine as they deserve, and throughout the entire movie, you can't help but wonder about the talent wasted. It is, however, Adam Scott who steals the show. From his days on Party Down to his now recurring character on Parks and Recreations, Adam Scott has continued to prove he has the talent to move onto bigger and better things. Unfortunately for Scott, Friends with Kids is not the leading man feature debut he deserves and it's a damn shame. His counter-part, Westfeldt, completely fails to balance out the charm and wit of Scott and is actually the biggest reason the film is such a failure. She is incredibly unlikable as an actress and as a writer/director and cannot keep up with anyone else in her movie. For instance, if you check out the blooper reel, you can see how out of place she is as a co-star and a filmmaker. 

She's also not the most attractive lady, looking a little too "pulled back" around the edges. 

Friends with Kids is not worth the time it feels it deserves, and is incredibly mundane and tedious. There is very little in the film that proves worthwhile and sitting through the movie grows more and more frustrating. Even after putting up with the entirety of the thing, it's ending is such a cop out of epic proportions that you can't help but feel the previous 100 minutes was wasted. The film is neither funny nor charming and any sense of realism it tries to evoke gets pissed out the window the moment the movie starts. Jennifer Westfeldt has shown the world that her ability to craft any kind of worthwhile film is nearly nonexistent. Friends with Kids may be her directorial debut (she's written two prior films), but one can only hope that this will be her last. 

The Good: 
Adam Scott tries his hardest to shine in a film that refuses to give him a chance
The Bad:
a script so bland and so boring that attempts to be some raunchy and romantic comedy but turns into a series of events that happen to a bunch of incredibly unlikable people
The Ugly:
Jennifer Westfeldt abusing the power of knowing people and putting together a movie that is unworthy of any of their talents (yes, even Megan Fox's)

Overall: 2.5/10


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At July 22, 2012 at 4:31 AM , Blogger Tom Gooderson-A'Court said...

I think 2.5/10 is a little harsh but I agree with most of your points. You're right that it was dull and predictable and I didn't find it funny. I think I went with 2/5.

At July 22, 2012 at 2:28 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I may have been a little harsh, yes, but I really, really, really did not like this movie. Too many problems with it and as I wrote the review, I hated it even more lol.

But thanks for checking it out!

At August 7, 2012 at 11:28 PM , Blogger TheVern said...

That's too bad because I really liked Jennifer Westfeldt's script she co wrote "Kissing Jessica Stein" although she did not direct it. The premise alone does sound very shallow and pointless

At August 7, 2012 at 11:30 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yeah. I really hated this movie. The more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it. Def. not worth the time.


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