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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Friends With Kids (2012)

Well, you'd think this would be right up my street. I have a vast wealth of experience in this department after all. With three children of my own, I have to admit I was keen to see Westfeldt's take on this slightly thorny subject. I was hoping it would be interlaced with enough humour to make this bearable. The comedy expectations were raised when I found out that half of the Bridesmaids cast would be involved, but as we can see here, this is evidence to prove the point that lightning doesn't always strike twice. Additionally, it proves that Kristen Wiig writes better material.

With friends that have changed beyond all recognition since the birth of their children, good friends (only) Jason and Julie decide, somewhat inexplicably, to produce a child together (strangely, but for the benefit of the plot, they had to have sex and not just test tube the poor little sucker) without all of the encumbent baggage of a marriage. They intend to both spend fifty percent of the time being one hundred percent committed. This is a verbalised contract, the production of which is a child, to satisfy the requirements of two people that do not really want to bother with convention and just simply get the product which they believe they need in order to be complete. Already, they sound repellent.

I think the film-makers would like you to view this a romantic comedy with just a hint of an edge. It has smarts, but it is too often found wanting for delivery. Westfeldt seems a little lightweight for a female lead and this reviewer wonders if Wiig might not have been a better choice to deliver Westfeldt's thoughts on screen. The idea may have come too soon after Bridesmaids and too long after When Harry Met Sally to stand on its own two feet as a uniqie and original friends with benefits morality tale. Predictability in film is usually reserved for a certain type of audience. It is large, undemanding and generally suffers from acute memory loss. If this wasn't the case, films of this type would get seen only once.

The cast perform just well enough with the admittedly average material but this comes so soon after the outstanding Bridesmaids, that this can only come off as a second best clone. By the begininng of the third act when the joking stops, the gloss dulls and the reality kicks in, then we have some real acting taking place, which raises the bar by some degree. It is fair to say that the film morphs into something far more worthy in the last half an hour and if the entire film had gone in this vein, we would be looking at a more favourable response.


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