Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Jon Hamm star alongside Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott in a daring and hilarious ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends whose lives change once they have kids. The last two singles in the group (Westfeldt and Scott) observe the effect that kids have had on their friends’ relationships and wonder if there’s a better way to make it work. When they decide to have a child together and date other people, their unconventional “experiment” leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family and, above all, true love. Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt and also starring Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns, Friends with Kids delivers the laughs and the heart from beginning to end!
Friends with Kids stars Jennifer Westfedt, who also wrote, directed and produced the film. She and Adam Scott are Julie and Jason, the last two single people in their group of friends (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jon Hamm and Chris O’Dowd) – all the rest are married and having children. They look around and see the way friends and strangers have adapted to having kids and they think that they have it figured out. The key is to have and share equally the kid, the good part and skip the relationship/marriage that messes up the experience.
For their child experiment to work, the key is that neither Julie or Jason have any romantic feelings for each other. After their son Joe is born, Jason is the first one to get back into the dating world. He meets and starts dating the beautiful MJ dancer (Megan Fox) long before Julie is ready to get back out in the game. Jason hurts Julie’s feelings when he talks about how wonderful their situation is and how great it is that they aren’t attracted to each other. Julie finally meets her own guy, Kurt (Edward Burns), and for a while everyone seems happy.
Both couples take their significant others on a ski trip along with the circle of friends. At dinner it all comes to a head and they learn that two of their friends are on the verge of divorce and they think Julie and Jason’s plan is crazy. Jason gives quite a speech defending Julie, making it extremely uncomfortable for girlfriend MJ. The circle of friends drifts apart. Julie finally declares her love for Jason and is rejected. Julie then moves out of the same apartment building Jason lives in. She tries to hate him, but has to wait for him to realize he loved her all along.
Friends with Kids is a lower budget film that is well written overall. It is well acted by all the principal actors, and child actors as well. It’s certainly a chick flick, and follows the standard formula of happy, happy, really sad then happy again. The circle of friends is played by a group of actors with great chemistry. I wish the leading man had been someone other than Adam Scott. The actor just always seems a little creepy and I don’t find him attractive. A better looking, more charismatic actor would have allowed me to buy on to the film that much more. Still, I did enjoy the film. It was one of those chick flicks I put in the cute category. Be warned, there is a lot of language issues that won’t allow you to watch this in the background while your kids are playing nearby. Save this one till they go to bed.
Friends with Kids is presented on blew ray in 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 wide-screen ratio. The New York feel is well preserved in this film. I particularly noticed that the wet and cold New York nights transfer well and the film has crisp excellent detail throughout. Black levels and flesh tones are consist and detail especially exceptional when noticing fabric textures on various clothing.
Friends with Kids is presented in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio with closed captions available in English SDH and subtitles in English and Spanish. The film is dialogue driven with consistent levels throughout. Many of the scenes are set in busy restaurants and this mix does a nice job recreating the atmosphere of the crowd. For a romantic comedy, a good audio transfer is easier to come by but Friends with Kids did not disappoint (or impress either).
Friends with Kids has some interesting commentary and a decent number of special features.
- Audio Commentary - with Jennifer Westfedt, Jon Hamm and William Rexer – Jennifer Westfedt does most of the talking in this audio commentary, which was fairly interesting overall. Jon Hamm points out all the New York places they shot at.
- Making Friends with Kids – A behind the scenes look at making the movie.
- Ad Libs and Bloopers – A collection of funny moments divided into two sections – fun with kids and fun with actors.
- Scene 42: Anatomy of a Gag – Available with or without commentary, this is a look at one particular scene attempted multiple times with ad-
- libs. This is basically an extended blooper. Its much more interesting when watched with the commentary on.
- MJ Rocks at video games – Megan Fox apparently rocks at video games, not just her character. With available commentary, the video game scene is more enjoyable with commentary on.
- Deleted Scenes – A collection of scenes deleted from the final cut.
- Also from Lionsgate – previews for other Lionsgate titles.
When it comes to romantic comedies, I have to get past the fact that there are no real surprises. They all seem to follow the same formula, but some, like Friends with Kids throw in as many unique elements as they can. The circle of friends is played by a group of actors that really seems to be friends. Megan Fox is not very like-able in her part, and I think that they could have made the film a little more heart wrenching if his love interest was a really sweet woman. I enjoyed the special features, particularly MJ Rocks at Video Games – where Megan Fox proves to be very good at gaming as opposed to Adam Scott, who doesn’t have a clue. I would definitely recommend Friends with Kids to my rom-com loving friends but will offer to loan them my copy as they probably won’t want to own it and have multiple viewings.
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