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Friends with Kids: Too Hard to Believe

By Meredith Alloway · March 13, 2012

This movie is a tease. Bottom line. The posters and the previews and the storyline are all misleading. Where’s Kristen Wig? Wait, where’s Jon Hamm? Is that all we get of Ms. Lovely Rudolph?!  No!!!

I entered the theatre eager to see a comedy about three couples, played by all wonderful actors, and randomly Jennifer Westfeldt, that struggle to maintain sanity amidst the feat that is children. But, in fact, this isn’t a comedy people…it’s a romantic comedy…and it’s not about three couples, really, it’s about one. And unfortunately for us, they’re the most uninteresting of the bunch.

Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Westfeldt) have decided to have a baby. They’ll share everything; the diaper changing, bottle feeding, financial responsibilities, just like a married couple would do. But here’s the catch: they’re not married, or remotely “attracted” to each other for that matter. They’ve found a short cut. They’ll skip all the messy relationship trauma that comes with having a kid, something that’s clearly affected the couples around them, and just have a kid without the strings attached.

Easier said than done.

The film’s premise is clever, and within the first 15 minutes, compelling. Our two protagonists have a clear goal, and hopefully we’ll laugh our way to the finish line…whatever that outcome may be. The problem lies in the fact that Scott and Westfeldt are the weakest links.

Many people don’t even know who Westfelt is. Jon Hamm’s wife? Didn’t she write that lesbian flick Kissing Jessica something back in the 90s? Wait, why is she the lead in this? That’s because she wrote it. And directed it. Now, she’s in the starring role. And that’s not to say giving a slightly unknown actor a shot at the big times is a bad thing. It’s been done before and it’s given us shining comedic stars that are still going strong. Cameron Diaz, cough cough. But Westfelt can’t seem to hit the right notes.

She was reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw; a smart, middle-aged woman who finds herself still single in the big city.  The thing she was missing? Sex. We go to watch, as cliché as it may sound, romantic comedies where two sexy people fall for each other. And in Friends Jason continuously, and I mean comically continuously, announces how “un-attracted” he is to Julie who shares the same opinion along with thinking Jason is “Slightly effeminate.” So….why do we want them to get together? Because they’re best friends? I’m sorry but if the sexual tension isn’t there…well, Harry would’ve never gotten with Sally. And thus, we find this rom-com significantly hard to believe.

But hey, due credit must be paid to the phenomenal supporting cast. Rudolph is as wise as ever and Wig, in her small selection of scenes is hilariously poignant. She’s married-mom-gone-wrong, and it’s deliciously fun to laugh at. O’Dowd is back in action and, still, there’s something about him. He’s the charming dueschebag and towers over his wife Rudolph like a teddy bear; loveable. And Megan Fox? Well….she’s hot!

In the end, the script just can’t seem to decide what it is. It has a hilarious, vivacious cast at its disposal, but also wants to be taken seriously. How do you balance both? In this case, it decided to go the rom-com route and play it safe. Pulling an “Apatow” is harder than it looks. And that heartfelt comedy is what Friends With Kids just couldn’t quite achieve.