Robyn Morrison reviews the unconventional chick-flic Friends with Kids
It promises to be ‘the funniest film of its kind since Bridesmaids’ and, with most of the same cast, this ensemble comedy looks from the outset like it might just raise the same belly-laughs. Friends with Kids is about a close-knit group of friends in their early thirties, who are experiencing that time in life when everything changes. After two couples within the group tie the knot and have children, the remaining singletons and best friends, Julie and Jason, choose to take a different approach to parenthood. Witness to how having children negatively impacts the relationship between husband and wife; Julie and Jason decide to have a child together – while continuing to date other people.
Written, directed and starring Jennifer Westfeldt as Julie, the script is an honest observation of marriage, family, true love and friendship. However, despite a talented cast and the opportunity to make a rom-com with an unpredictable ending, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that, after as little as ten minutes into the film, the two lead characters will eventually end up together.
Sadly, the ‘unexpected emotional truths’ assured in the description are quite blatantly obvious as soon as the two protagonists have a child together, despite insisting that their emotions will not get in the way. Rather than rooting for the couple to end up together, I found myself hoping that this wouldn’t happen just to give the film the twist it so desperately needed.
Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd and Jon Hamm, who all stared in Bridesmaids, give convincing performances as the married friends, but disappointingly their talents are lost in a script which fails to impress. Quite simply, Westfeldt should have changed the predictable ending and handed over the part of Julie to Kirsten Wiig, who would have done a less monotonous job of the main role.
Friends with Kids does not, as promised, live up to the hype, quick wit and comedy gold moments of Bridesmaids, but if you are looking for an easy-viewing, feel-good rom-com to raise a few chuckles on a January evening, then this is for you.