Friends With Kids (2011)

JENNIFER WESTFELDT

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 2011.  Red Granite Pictures, Points West Pictures, Locomotive.  Screenplay by Jennifer Westfeldt.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , , .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2011.  

Ten years after the success of her co-written screenplay for Kissing Jessica Stein, Jennifer Westfeldt takes over the director’s chair for this smart and charming relationship comedy. Six best friends are made up of two couples and two best friends:  and  open the film with the announcement that they are going to have a baby,  (Westfeldt’s real-life husband) and  are passionately in love and can’t stop having sex in public, and Westfeldt and   (who is outstanding) are not in a relationship but have been the best of friends since college. Skip ahead a few years later and the two couples have children and are overtired and miserable while the two friends find themselves still quite happy with their swanky Manhattan lives. Trouble is, Scott and Westfeldt would both like to have a baby and, in their crazy wisdom, decide that it would be smart to have one with each other while remaining friends, thereby getting to be parents while never killing the possibility for romantic happiness in their lives. Whether or not it works out is for you to discover, but suffice it to say that despite the fact that the plot resembles a whole slew of films you’ve already seen, some good (The Switch), some mediocre (The Object Of My Affection) and some terrible (The Next Best Thing, finally one without Jennifer Aniston), Westfeldt’s fun script and energetic direction do everything in their power to accept this familiarity and find pockets of originality in the story. The structure being what it is, the film lamentably must work itself down to a far too conventional an ending, so it is smart of her to ignore this and instead put the emphasis on her wonderful dialogue (which never falters) and the characterizations on display from these talented actors. A line like “please fuck the shit out of me” in a romantic situation really helps keep the talky, New York witty comedy genre alive (and ironically the cast includes , the man who did so much in his day to kill that very genre).

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