Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Paragraph Movie Reviews: Friends With Kids

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

If I took one thing away from this movie (I took more than one thing away from it, but let's pretend), it's that Jennifer Westfeldt is an amazing talent on multiple levels. She's a fantastic actor as the female lead in the film, endowing her character, Julie, with an endearing ability to poke fun at her shortcomings in such a way that she only seems cooler as a result. She also wrote a fantastic screenplay that takes the very real, very raw topic of hitting that point where your peer group is starting to have kids and your life seems to be at a very different stage than theirs (hi) and mines it for a romantic comedy that tugs the heartstrings but doesn't come off cliched. She also directs a movie that she's in 75% of the time and produced it alongside her partner and co-star Jon Hamm to boot! Remarkable! And while Friends With Kids isn't perfect--I'd argue it accelerates too quick into the third act, though my wife disagrees--its flaws are few and far between; it's paced better slips into predictability and/or sappiness less than just about any other rom com I've seen in the last few years. I'd contend Adam Scott is the weaker member of the lead duo with Westfeldt as his Jason comes off doltish a bit more than I feel like he's intended, but he makes up for it by having chemistry with anything that moves and giving darn convincing arguments for his and Julie's choice to be best friends sharing a child. Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd are charming as the fatigued couple with three kids still putting in the time to make it work, O'Dowd in particular. Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig melt into the background a bit playing serious as married parents on the verge of destruction, but when Hamm gets a chance to turn it on, he shows why he's practically untouchable in the craft of acting. Friends With Kids balances comedy with heart and throws in a lot to think about to boot; I think it will appeal to a wide range of folks, whether you're looking for a date movie, want to laugh or are in the midst of an existential crisis because all your buddies have settled down.

2 comments:

Damon said...

I hope that Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are just as funny in Friends with Kids as they were in Bridesmaids. The story seems great in the trailer, so ’m really looking forward to seeing it. I have a few Dish coworkers who have seen the movie, and they suggested that I check it out. I’ve added it to my Blockbuster @Home queue so it won’t be long before I get to see the duo again!

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