Friends With Kids has been mis-marketed as a hilarious rom-com romp, in the vein of Bridesmaids (and the presence of Bridesmaids’ Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig has been somewhat over-emphasised). The film is hilarious, yes. But more often it is very human: upsetting, messy, lovely and complicated.
Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt – who also acts the female lead, Julie – the film follows a group of close-knit friends as they begin navigating the problem of adding children into the equation of their lives. Best friends Julie and Jason (Adam Scott), who observe that having children often kills a happy marriage, decide that they should have a kid together – but date other people.
To say that Friends With Kids entirely escapes from the conventions of the ‘baby rom com’ genre would be a lie – after all, there is a scene of a man changing a nappy, while covered in baby poop – but it mostly avoids clichés, and packages its uplifting life lessons with witty banter and genuine warmth. The ensemble cast turn in great performances, particularly Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig as a struggling couple who are on the rocks; while Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd show the more pleasant alternative.
Humour, romance, social relevance – the equation of Friends With Kids works.
P.S. Megan Fox is also in this film. But don’t let that put you off.