Friends with Kids (2011) Directed by Jennifer Westfeldt. With Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm and Megan Fox.
Is it just me, or is there a ‘Friends With’ franchise developing under our noses here? A few years ago, Jennifer Aniston appeared in ‘Friends’. Then she went on to appear in ‘Friends With Money’. Flash forward a few years, and Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis were ‘Friends With Benefits’. Now, thanks to writer,director and star Jennifer Westfeldt -we have the imaginatively titled ‘Friends with Kids’.
Chumming up with most of the cast of 2011’s ‘Bridesmaids’, although shamefully wasting Kristen Wiig, this instalment of the ‘Friends with’ franchise does a moderately safe job of being functional and mildly interesting for it’s duration. A bit like a cross between episodes of ‘Sex and the City’ with a Diablo Cody script, it’s cast are a bunch of sometimes amiable, often spoilt, slightly under-developed caricatures with some good moments of chemistry.
The central gag of the film is that having kids ruins your life, and that having a child with someone you aren’t romantically involved with is a short-cut around the awkwardness of having to pretend to keep the romantic flame alive. As the central pair, Westfeldt and Adam Scott do grow on you as the film develops, and the film stands and falls on their ability to create sincere characters rather than any particular comic thread.
Filling the film out as the friends in question are Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Megan Fox. All involved add a combination of romantic and dramatic purpose to the film with the exception of Kristen Wiig, whose underdeveloped role is more akin to that of an extra. What’s further baffling about her lack of input is that her face is front and centre on much of the poster advertising for the film (see above) which for anyone who saw and enjoyed Bridesmaids, might come off as slightly misleading.
That aside, there isn’t a huge amount to grumble about. Sure, these are the filthy rich Manhattan sorts whose lifestyles mirror those glimpsed in glossy tabletop magazines, but while this isn’t a film that’s selling glamour per se, it’s an inherent part of what makes this kind of film attractive to it’s audience. A mostly likeable film that plays in a very televisual kind of way. 3/5