Carly at the Movies: Friends with Kids

“Friends with Kids” came flashing across American screens last month, barely made a dent at the Box Office, and disappeared. Luckily (and happily) I caught it just before it closed yesterday.

The audience for this film has been split pretty evenly. Some folks hate it. Some folks love it. I sided with the latter group and laughed all the way through this young folks comedy, because I happen to think that kids (particularly other peoples’ kids) are annoying as hell.

Blonde and lanky Jennifer Westfeldt, who wrote, directed, and stars in “Friends with Kids” obviously feels the same way. So does her BFFNG (Best Friend Forever, Neither Gay) played by Adam Scott.

Neither name ring a bell? She also wrote and starred in   the ultra-cool “Kissing Jessica Stein” a few years ago. In between, she won a Tony on Broadway and looks like Lisa Kudrow’s younger sister, which she ain’t.

And Adam Scott is best known for his tossle-haired TV roles on “Parks and Recreation” and the hilarious “Party Down” on Showtime in 2010.

Westfeldt, as it turns out, is a honey of a writer. Early in the film, we see six young New Yorkers out for dinner. Scott and Westfeldt, John Hamm and Kristen Wiig, and Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd. They are young, hip couples with fun jobs – the kind of people, you know, that we all just love to hate (but are secretly jealous).

Flash forward four years. The two married couples have kids, Scott and Westfeldt still both single but living in the same building on Riverside Drive. The harried buggy-pushing, bottle-toting married quartet put pressure on our hero and heroine to join them in a state of wedded bliss and parenthood.

They foolishly compromise. They won’t get married but they will have a baby together, and share it 50/50. And the fun, which has already started, goes into high gear.

Adam and Jennifer, who are not attracted to each other physically, decide to make a baby. What follows is absolutely the funniest foreplay scene I’ve ever experienced in a movie.

At this point, it was pretty obvious how the movie was going to end. At first I thought: oh no, they’re going to fall in love despite themselves! And that’s too corny for such a superbly imaginative film. And then, as their romantic foils (gorgeous Megan Fox and handsome Edward Burns) enter, I was afraid they wouldn’t fall in love.

I won’t spoil it for you, I’ll just highly recommend it when it appears on DVD or Netflix, and go on to the big question: why is everyone who’s seen this film so violently pro or con?

It’s really nice to see Adam and Jennifer with their baby; they’re both genuinely devoted to the tyke, and seem pretty smart to have avoided the pitfall of marital woe that a baby often brings with it, replacing romance with responsibilities.

The nay-says claim “Life’s not like that,” and the cheering squad says, “Ain’t life funny!” Ya pays her money and ya takes yer choice. I genuinely laughed at most of the film, and will keep an eye out for Westerfeldt’s future works. She’s a sharp cookie.

Column by Carl Larsen


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