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Review: ‘Friends With Kids’ Is No ‘Bridesmaids’

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Friends with Kids movie review

Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt in the film Friends with Kids

Vicki Briganti – WWJ-TV Writer / Producer / Editor

The tagline for “Friends with Kids” is: “Love. Happiness. Kids. Pick two.” I think they should change it to: “Bad. Not funny. Unrealistic. Pick two.”

Put Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, the funny stars of “Bridesmaids,” in another movie together and it’s going to be a comedy, right? Wrong. Not when it’s written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt.

Jennifer Westfeldt (“Kissing Jessica Stein”) is also the star of her new film “Friends with Kids.” She plays Julie, a sweet, slightly insecure single woman in her late thirties who hasn’t met the man of her dreams but wants to have children. Enter her best friend since high school, Jason (Adam Scott, “Parks and Recreation”). Even though Jason later admits he isn’t attracted to Julie, they throw caution to the wind and sleep together one night to conceive a baby and raise it together, without the “trappings” of being a couple. While Jason is on a date, he receives a call from Julie that she’s giving birth to their son.

Concerned friends and family offer opinions on this arrangement, which culminates in an uncomfortable scene during a ski trip dinner. Ben (Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”) has a meltdown since his own marriage is on the rocks. Julie is there with her boyfriend; Jason is there with his girlfriend. They are forced to defend their alternative family lifestyle to their married friends with kids. Ben’s outburst makes his wife, Missy (Kristen Wiig), cry.

No Crying In Comedies

First of all, I don’t want to see Kristen Wiig cry. Do you? No, I want to see her being goofy and funny and making me laugh. Maybe my disappointment in this movie was my own fault for expecting it to be a comedy.

Second of all, the concept is an implausible insult to infertile couples everywhere. If the producers flashed some graphics charting Jason and Julie’s month to month progress using ovulation test kits, clomid, injectables, IUI, IVF, or other assisted reproductive technologies, at least that would have been comedic and a far more realistic result of waiting until your late thirties to attempt your first pregnancy. But, OK, it’s a movie. Julie and Jason get pregnant after only one night. Right.

I think Westfeldt wrote it that way to move the script along, a script that’s choppy and awkward at best. There are some funny lines. When Maya Rudolph’s character, Leslie, tells Julie not to worry about meeting a man: “I have four set-ups for you and at least one is promising.” Now, that’s more realistic.

Adam Scott does a decent acting job for the big screen. You might know him from his character as Ben on the TV show, “Parks and Recreation.” He aptly handles the drama, but I just don’t buy him as a leading man a woman would pine over for months. He says he doesn’t want to get involved with Julie because she’s like his “limb.” I can see his point. Why would anyone want to be permanently attached to a permanent attachment?

Hey, Kirk Cameron, it’s 2012. Credit goes to Westfeldt for her bravery in exploring and expanding the term “family” and the delights and complications inherent when going against the norm. I just wish she’d been able to blend her bravery with comedy.

If you need some movie laughs this weekend, go see Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston in “Wanderlust.”

Friends with Kids opens in theatres March 9th. The official website is friendswithkids.com.

>> More Motor City Musing with Vicki Briganti

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