Netflix fix: 'Friends with Kids' surprises as a modern romantic comedy
March 20, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.
Updated March 19, 2013 at 10:20 p.m.
There is a societal norm that, for the most part, expects people to fall in love, get married and then have children. In that order.
In "Friends With Kids," (R) after witnessing their coupled friends become less fun, less cute (less everything, really), two besties decide to break the norm and have a child together without all the nasty marriage and love stuff.
"I promise to commit to this 50 percent of the time." Julie, played by Jennifer Westfeldt, and Jason, a great Adam Scott, shake; and it's decided - they're having a baby.
The college friends love each other (but not in that way, obviously). They both want to have kids now, and worry about finding a partner later. What could possibly go wrong?
The idea of exploring the social construct is an interesting one, but within the realm of two attractive and successful friends falls into this weird almost cliche zone.
Fortunately, the cast is so strong and likeable, it really doesn't matter.
Westfeldt, who performed triple duty on the movie as the star, writer and director, really turns in a great script for her actors to play with.
Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, John Hamm (Westfeldt' real-life husband) and other friendly faces really make the movie sing, reflecting different relationships and the effects having kids have on them.
For a while, the movie chugs on this path of success for Julie and Jason. They love their son, they both are dating and it is sincerely interesting to see them be happy in this alternative family situation.
Of course, however, love is never simple, and by the end of the movie we're done exploring social constructs, and we fall into the familiar tropes of Hollywood that belong in less sharp movies.
Though a little crass (the last scene is particularly, head-scratchingly vulgar), the overall product is a winning and thought-provoking romantic comedy that breathes new air into the fast-dying genre.