Friends with Kids
Starring: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm
Distributor: Roadshow Films
Runtime: 107 mins. Reviewed in Jun 2012
Five year engagements, what to expect when you’re expecting, friends with kids… what are the questions Hollywood is raising for 2012? The target audience seems to be those in their 30s who are faced with issues of commitment, relationships, marriage, pregnancy, family, rearing of children. What are the rest of us to think as we look on? And question ourselves?
The screenplay was written by Jennifer Westfeldt who takes on the central role of Julie, in her later 30s by the end of the film who has had a long relationship which ended badly. She is on the lookout for love (not quite believing that she could be really loved) and, as she sees her friends with kids, is powerfully aware of the ticking of the biological clock. Should she simply get pregnant? By whom? Since high school, her best friend has been Jason, but he is not attracted to her in terms of a permanent relationship. In his 30s, he is stuck in his adolescent desires and sexual urges – and, as for children…
The friends with kids include a married couple with several. Maya Rudolph as Leslie spends a lot of time being frantic, especially when visitors are coming to dinner. Alex, Chris O’Dowd, doesn’t seem fazed at all. Then there are Missy, Kristin Wiig, and Ben, Jon Hamm, who have a baby. You can tell that this latter couple is drifting steadily towards the rocks. Julie does pal up with Mr Perfect, Edward Burns, who is charmingly sensitive and has grown up children. Jason, on the other hand, is swept off his feet by a young actress, Megan Fox, who loathes the idea of commitment – and children.
The film traces the interactions of these characters over the years, including Julie’s pregnancy (yes, it is Jason, but solely as a kind of contract for shared responsibility for their son and freedom for seeking other partners). Maybe the ending is too much what we might have expected (dramatically speaking that is), but while we have dramas in real life, a moral ending is what most people hope for. Which means that, ultimately, this film for 30-somethings wants to make a strong affirmation about children and parenting with love and selflessness.
12 Random Films…