Not interesting enough to be an enjoyable drama and certainly not funny enough to be an enjoyable comedy, I started to wonder about Friends With Kids as soon as the end credits rolled. Just who was it aimed at? Who came up with the idea and then didn’t make the most of it? And how did this potentially great cast get roped into the whole thing? Then I saw something. The main actress, Jennifer Westfeldt, also happens to be the writer and director. Oh vanity, it can be such an ugly trait. Westfeldt is also the long-time girlfriend of Jon Hamm, one of those great names in the cast. Hamm, of course, was in Bridesmaids alongside Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, all of whom also star in this mess. Mystery solved.
Adam Scott stars as Jason Fryman, the very best friend of Julie Keller (Westfeldt). Neither have been able to find true happiness with a partner, unlike their other friends, but both enjoy keeping up to date with the latest and greatest failures. Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd are the friends who announce that they’re going to be parents pretty soon and when the movie fast forwards to a year or so later, Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm are also carrying a small child around with them. Fryman and Keller get to discussing kids and eventually, through a very silly and convoluted series of conversations, decide that they should have a child together and share the whole experience while not having to be in a relationship with one another. If that sounds like the dumbest idea in the world to you then that’s because it is but this is the movies so let’s wait a while and see how the situation is used for comedy gold or even some serious points about the importance of getting parenting right. And wait. And wait. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand wait.
Yep, it never happens. Westfeldt uses this movie to make a completely tired rom-com without much rom and barely any com at all. Edward Burns and Megan Fox also come along and try their best, to be fair, but they’re just as badly treated as everyone else when it comes to Westfeldt the director helping to serve Westfeldt the writer helping to serve Westfeldt the actress.
If you think I’m being too harsh then either watch the film again, if you can endure it a second time, and then see how you feel or simply get in touch with me to let me know where my train of thought was derailed. Adam Scott gets by, only just, but Rudolph, O’Dowd, Wiig, Hamm, Burns and Fox are all either treated badly or largely ignored. And Westfeldt is too distracting to make for a lead in this kind of movie. She has either, at best, had a few “spa treatments” that used too much botox or those plastic surgery rumours that won’t stop doing the rounds are more than just rumours.
I was trying to think of ONE aspect of the movie that I could say that I enjoyed, one thing to leave the review on something of a positive note. I guess it’s Adam Scott, he saves the film from an even lower score. There’s nothing else of note. The soundtrack is so unmemorable that I’ve forgotten it already, so at least I didn’t hate it, the style and design of the thing is entirely bland at best and it feels as if it goes on forever even while clocking in at a decent 107 minutes. I really hope that the studios don’t let Westfeldt make another movie for a long, long time.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: JENNIFER WESTFELDT
STARS: ADAM SCOTT, JENNIFER WESTFELDT, MAYA RUDOLPH, CHRIS O’DOWD, KRISTEN WIIG, JON HAMM, EDWARD BURNS, MEGAN FOX
RUNTIME: 107 MINS APPROX