Film: Friends with Kids

Sometimes you watch a movie just for the cast, and writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids (2011) has a great one, with Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd, among others. Unfortunately, it’s an annoying movie: too much drama, too few laughs, too many kids, not enough friends.

Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Scott) are single best friends who want to have a child, but don’t want all that marriage bullshit getting in the way. So they decide, rather clinically and impulsively, to have a child together out of wedlock and share custody until they find the loves of their lives. Their progressive child-rearing experiment looks brilliant at first…and then it doesn’t, when the stresses of parenting bring them closer together, and they turn out to be on different pages in terms of their relationship.

It’s a workable concept, and Scott and Westfeldt have a great rapport at the center of it, but in the end I found it a tedious ride. It underuses its great supporting cast, the male characters are almost uniformly unlikable, and the structural end game is utterly predictable. It’s generally well performed, a handful of jokes click, and it does have a few compelling moments, but by and large this one grated on me, driven too much by clich├ęd male behavior, unfunny low-brow language and shrilly arguing characters. Easily missed.

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