Friends with Kids ★★★

Gathering four of the stars of Bridemaids looked like an obvious attempt to cash-in on the feel-good critical success of Paul Feig's very funny movie. What we got though was too many characters, and not enough fleshed out development of the main protagonists.
I'm going to show my ignorance now, I'd never heard of Jennifer Westfeldt. She has a familiar face, but even when I Googled her I was none the wiser. She does however do everything here. Write, produce, direct, and star in this often witty, sometimes cloyingly sentimental drama about the stress and pitfalls that having children puts on relationships. It's actually very cleverly written, I think anyone who's been part of a social group of friends have witnessed the changes that pregnancy and children can bring. It changes the whole dynamic of your life, your responsibilities, your priorities, mostly at the expense of your social circle. Of course it's not quite as black and white as dropping everything when you have a child, but it's close.
Westfeldt's take on this predicament is turned on its head by her decision as a woman in her late thirties to have a baby with her best friend. They make plans to share custody jointly and then date other people as they're not attracted to each other in a sexual way. It's an interesting concept, but the outcome here is predictable after a promising start. That said, the performances are good although the larger circle of friends are almost caricatures of real people. We have Kristen Wiig and her husband Jon Hamm who at first are all over each other until the stresses of marriage and children ruin their relationship. On the flip side is Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd who bicker relentlessly over everything child related, but still deep down have passion for each other. It's just a little too simplistic for me and regardless of the snappy dialogue and clever story arc, the chemistry between the two leads, Westfeldt and Adam Scott( thought he was a golfer?) never quite convinces. There are some intense scenes, and the brutal honesty of the Vermont dinner clash between Hamm and Scott was nicely done, but even the appearance of Ed Burns and Megan Fox doesn't add much to something just a little too contrived.

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