By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
I love how ridiculously productive the faces of comedy are these days. Comedians and comediennes like Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, John Krasinski, Alison Brie, Seth Rogen, Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, etc, etc, etc seem to perpetually be popping up in projects all over the spectrum of film and TV. They’re constantly assembling together in crazily stacked casts and churning out gems both large and small. With all this productivity, there’s bound to be a misfire every once in awhile.
The premis of Friends With Kids has potential. Two long-time friends see the rest of their group couple up and get married. All goes fine until the kids come along, with lack of sleep and new responsibilities straining the bonds of their relationships and turning them into different, worse people. Westfeldt and Scott both want a child, and figure that they can avoid the problems of their friends if they have the kid without getting involved romantically, and instead raise it as friends while still pursuing their respective Mr. and Mrs. Right.
Because children from loveless couplings usually turn out great!
Westfeldt and Scott’s chemistry is excellent, and they make a very believable onscreen pair. The other couples, which are played by Maya Rudolph & Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Wiig & John Hamm, are also good pairings, and each gets in a few funny lines here and there, particularly at the beginning before the plot really gets going.
And then the plot gets going. Such a bizarre premise certainly has comedic potential, but it doesn’t take a certified psychiatrist to see how it falls apart completely as a practical course of action. And yet, this film seems to regard it as exactly that, and the script upholds Westfeldt and Scott’s decisions at every turn…
…until the standard romantic comedy wheels go into motion. Will Scott and Westfeldt find happiness with Megan Fox and Edward Burns, or were they destined to be together from the beginning? If you’ve never seen any romantic comedy from the dawn of time, then prepare to be surprised, I guess.
Will Oog and Mooka continue to ignore what’s right in front of their faces? Or will the heavy cudgel of fate bash in their resistance to Love?
This all would have been a bit more acceptable if Friends With Kids had been as hilarious as the cast suggests it could have been. There are one-liners here and there that hit, but the rest is a strange blend of tits and dicks jokes and yuppie snark.
This humor often comes at the expense of character development, as parenthood devolves the mutually supporting couples into one-track harpies consumed by the desire to eviscerate their mates.
I told you to buy some fucking milk!
I still love everyone involved, but even performers this talented can’t liven up such a rote, unlikable script.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever there’s a fight
Take a Drink: whenever someone says something smug or pithy
Drink a Shot: for any awkward sex scene or sex talk