DVD Review: Friends with Kids
Release Date: May 16, 2012
· Jennifer Westfeldt
· Jennifer Westfeld
· Adam Scott
· Jon Hamm
· Kristen Wiig
· Maya Rudolph
· Chris O'Dowd
· Megan Fox
· Edward Burns
· IMDb: Friends with Kids
by Lindsay Brand
Published: July 20, 2012
After watching the turmoil that raising a child together wreaks on even the healthiest of romantic relationships, Julie and Jason (Adam Scott) mull over the idea of having a child together. It makes sense. As they say in the movie, they have to be "100% committed half the time." They have never been attracted to each other, and have a platonic love for each other. Jason and Julie decide to try it out, and tell their close-knit group of friends: Missy (Kristin Wiig) and Ben (Jon Hamm) as well as Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O'Dowd). Their friends' reactions are varied as their expectations about Julie and Jason's chance of success.
Jennifer Westfeldt not only plays the role of Julie, but is also the director and writer. She has written two other films,
"Ira & Abby" and "Kissing Jessica Stein." She does a fabulous job of bringing her character to life. That's really the refreshing thing about this film -- all of the characters in the circle of friends are well-developed. As the film went on, I recognized these characters as people I could know in real life. In the extras, she talks about how a lot of these actors are friends of hers and wanted to be involved with the film as soon as they heard about the premise. Their
camaraderie and disagreements on screen speak of their friendship behind the scenes.
Jason's love interest, Mary Jane, is played by Megan Fox. Even this supporting character has more depth than a typical romantic role. The same can be said for Julie's love interest, Curt, played by actor Edward Burns. Curt is not just Julie's knight in shining armor; he's a dad who is recovering from a divorce and genuinely wants the best for Julie and the children involved in their lives.
While one of the strengths of this movie was the depth of the characterization and friendships, I was bewildered and slightly unsatisfied with the way the central conflict was wrapped up at the end.
That being said, this DVD had an impressive collection of extras. They have extra scenes they cut from the final edition with optional commentary which filled in why some of the more worthy ones ended up on the cutting room floor. The blooper roll had some hilarious moments as well as the segment where they built a rapport with the young child actors. It also included a full film commentary with the director, Jennifer Westfeldt, as well as John Hamm and William Rexer where they shared behind the scenes stories.
The mildly unsatisfying ending was my main problem with the film, but the vast majority of the film was engaging, witty, and brutally honest. I think I'll watch it again.