Friends with Kids is not a sequel to Friends with Money but a sometimes raunchy, sometimes sweet tale of male/female best friends who have a kid together but try seeing other people. You might guess that their feelings for each other complicate the situation, and they do. The man is played by Adam Scott (Step Brothers), a comedic actor I’ve always liked, and it was nice to see him here in a starring role. The woman is played by Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), who also wrote, produced and directed the film. Given that the outstanding supporting cast includes Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, I wish Westfeldt had worn maybe one fewer hat, or at least traded roles with Wiig’s character, who plays opposite Westfeldt’s longtime boyfriend Jon Hamm.
If you can overlook Westfeldt’s hit-and-miss central performance, there is plenty to like about this little film. Westfeldt’s scripting and directing generates honest laughs and some genuine emotion. No doubt this a post-Apatow film, with healthy doses of frank sex talk mingled with a melodramatic exploration of human relationships. Despite being populated with New York neurotics, the values that the story espouses are strictly middle-American. Having kids is a noble pursuit and new love heals the wounds of bad marriages.
Chris O’Dowd, Ed Burns and Megan Fox round out the rest of the cast, all playing the notes they’ve been given. Since the film follows the characters over many years, I like how it generates a sense of grand life changes, even with the long scenes and interior locations that come with a limited budget (reportedly less than $10M).
Friends with Kids (double-spoiler alert!) basically ends the way Eyes Wide Shut does. But it has jokes instead of weird masked orgies in the middle of it. Whether that is a plus or a minus I will leave to the taste of the reader.