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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Friends with Kids (review)

Friends with Kids Adam Scott Jennifer Westfeldt red light

I’m “biast” (pro): like most of the cast, thought the premise had potential

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have/have not read the source material (and I love it/like it/hate it/am indifferent about it)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Trying to figure what is the most offensive thing about this accidental mashup of 70s Woody Allen and Sex and the City. Is it the assumption that romance and parenthood cannot coexist, and that kids turn previously reasonable, mature adults into monsters? Is it the notion that a couple of self-absorbed platonic friends thought they could “cheat” this “system” by having a baby together without all the relationship stuff getting in the way? Or is it that for all its apparent unconventionalism and challenge to accepted morality, Friends with Kids turns out to be nothing beyond yet one more affirmation of a deeply conservative status quo? Yeah, I think it’s that last one, seeing as how it’s the shitty pinnacle at the top of a pile of spoiled-brat idiocy. Of course the decision to have a baby together is something of a lark for Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt, who also writes and directs) and Jason (Adam Scott: Bachelorette): they are rolling in dough, live charmed, comfy lives in enormous apartments in one of the ritziest neighborhoods in Manhattan, and appear to be concerned with little beyond amusing themselves. Julie, who is unlucky in love, lacks only that ultimate accessory: a doll to push around in a $500 stroller while brag-bitching about 70-page nursery-school applications. Jason is unable to maintain a relationship for more than a few weeks despite ongoing attempts, primarily, it would seem, because his first criteria in a girlfriend is “big tits.” Deciding to have a baby together as friends requires only slightly more consideration than deciding to buy an espresso machine. I won’t tell you how it ends (though you may have already guessed), though I will share further disappointment: I would say it’s a shame that the movie isn’t about their gang of friends — played by Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd (a veritable Bridesmaids reunion) — except that Westfeldt’s script treats them like garbage; that they emerge almost unscathed anyway is a testament to their all-around appeal onscreen. Perhaps one consolation we can take away from this unpleasant example of overprivileged navel-gazing is that Julie and Jason appear to be on the verge of becoming precisely what they’ve spent the whole movie hating. It couldn’t have happened to be a more deserving couple.

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Friends with Kids (2012)
US/Can release: Mar 9 2012
UK/Ire release: June 29 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated RWPP (contains rich white peoples’ problems)
MPAA: rated R for sexual content and language
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong language and sex references)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Toucher

    I hear ya Gappie.

  • Goddard

    Same here. I just bought it off Amazon, but I’m scared to watch it again. At least the dinner scene will still be there.

  • Valerie Proctor

    Wow. People took this movie seriously enough to be angry over it? It’s not like it’s Farenheit 911, people. It’s a rom-com. I can only assume that the people who got seriously offended by this movie took it personally. Hit too close to home perhaps?

  • urbanomical

    MaryAnn, the venom in your words says way more about you than it does about the film. I wouldn’t even call this a film review. I’m interested to know what your artistic background is, because your ‘biography’ certainly doesn’t give us anything to be reassured about. With seemingly no actual talent that contributes something to the arts, you have clearly made a business out of just criticizing the work of others. Congratulations. What an achievement.

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