Friends With Kids

Director: Jennifer Westfeldt

Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, Edward Burns.

Written by: Jennifer Westfeldt

Running Time: 107 mins

Cert 15

Release date: 29th June 2012

In 2001, writer/actress Jennifer Westfeldt gave us a delightfully charming romantic comedy with a twist about a woman failing in relationships who decides to try the lesbian lifestyle. Now, Ms Westfeldt has given us a new romantic comedy which is interesting because she managed to get together four of the main players from Bridesmaids. If you really loved that terrific comedy, you are immediately interested. Hold your horses, this is a very different creature from that hilarious film. The reason being is that the characters that are on show here are just horrible. I mean utterly horrible!

Jason and Julie are both single and have been friends for 19 years. They know everything there is to know about each other. Their friends, all married, are having kids and this is changing their relationships with them as well as upsetting the balance of things in the marriages. This hasn’t deterred Julie. She wants a child but she doesn’t want the hassle of marriage and all the trappings it brings and still be able to date afterwards. So she and Jason form a pact that he become the father but without any strings. Of course, it’s easier said than done, especially when the pair are so close and sharing the child caring duties.

What really annoyed me about this film is that the central cast I really like. I think Kristen Wiig manages to lighten up any  film she appears and is one of the best female comics around; Maya Rudolph has shown time and time again what a terrific comic actress she is; Jon Hamm is also a good actor (and is the life-partner of Ms Westfeldt) and as for Chris O’Dowd, all I have to say is…The I.T. Crowd. Excellent performers one and all but they are badly let down here and Ms Westfeldt has turned them into needy, cretinous snobs who you wouldn’t want to sit anywhere near in a restaurant.

FRIENDS WITH KIDS

Even worse are Ms Westfeldt and her leading man Adam Scott, who we spend the most time with. I wanted to slap the pair of them. From the very outset you know what kind of characters they are. She calls him up at 4 in the morning to ask, in a bizarre and twisted game they play, how he would prefer to die? Both are in bed but not with each other. He has a some faceless woman that he announces while she sleeps that he is going to dump while she is with some young bartender she’s picked up and yet has the urge to call him up with some deranged question.

The rest of the film follows the same pattern. They are incredibly rude about their friends…to their faces! She gets excited when he buys her a coffee making machine, showing how materialistic they are. He is a serial dater who only likes women with large breasts while he encourages her to exercise her female area after child-birth, in order to make it tighter. I’m sorry but I have female friends and I wouldn’t even dream of saying something like that to them. They pout when they don’t get their own way and when the obvious ending comes (and serious, I don’t think I need to say spoiler as it’s obvious even before you walk into the cinema!) the final lines just make you thing that romance is finally dead!

What is also agitating about this film is that it seems so pleased with itself, as if this is the funniest thing you will see all year and that Woody Allen should be worried as his crown for New York angst comedies is about to be taken. Have no fear, Woody, there’s no contender here.

Jennifer Westfeldt looks like a sweet enough woman and you know she can deliver, she did with Kissing Jessica Stein but she really was hitting all the wrong spots here. Last week’s The Five-Year Engagement may have been far too long but at least you didn’t mind being in the company of the people in it. Here, I was willing the film to finish after 15 minutes! And anyone who calls their friend “Doll!” as Scott’s character does, really deserves a beating.

Edward Burns turns up as Mr Nice Guy and Megan Fox gets to play a dancer from the show Chicago that Jason hooks up with but their parts are so badly underwritten that you don’t really get to see much of them. Same as the famous supporting cast. This is the Westfeldt/Scott show and don’t you forget it and I hate them both! I haven’t been this angry coming out of a movie since that other Friends film, Friends with Benefits! Must avoid any film with Friends in the title!

1/5

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