Can friends be parents and stay friends? No prizes for guessing that one
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Upscale Manhattanites Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) and Jason (Adam Scott) have a theory: divorced couples with kids have it best, because they get to experience parenthood while also staying single. No sooner do the two arrive at this conclusion than a plan is hatched. As BFFs, they’ll conceive a child together, then enjoy playing the field. That way, they’ll avoid the hassles of marriage, which they believe has made their best friends (Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd; Kristen Wiig and Westfeldt’s long-time partner, Jon Hamm) into assholes. The movie clearly regards itself as a comment on progressive parenting, but romcom conventions dictate otherwise. If you genuinely think this pair has a chance at staying apart – while he dates a limber Chicago dancer (Megan Fox) and she romances a divorced dad (Edward Burns) – then you’ll probably have a patient viewing experience.
In Westfeldt’s Kissing Jessica Stein, the writer-star’s character dabbled in a lesbian relationship before deciding she and her girlfriend were just pals. Friends with Kids essentially plays the opposite angle, wending its way through endless almost-confessions before Jason and Julie admit they’re meant for each other. En route, there’s a germ of genuine insight about people’s reluctance to acknowledge each other’s feelings, out of politeness or fear. But how is the film as a comedy? When Harry Met Sally got past the difficulty of keeping its lovers apart by supplying a steady stream of good gags. Only the Wiig-Hamm axis seems keen to take the movie to that level.