[Review] 'Friends With Kids' Plays Well With Others

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Based on her own life experiences with friends having kids and falling off the radar, Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut, Friends with Kids, grapples with a number of contemporary parenting scenarios. Expect shrewd observations on age and gender as well as unconventional approaches on such conventional themes as love, friendship and marriage. Although the outcome may be predictable, as it so often is in the world of romantic comedy, the ride on this merry-go-round offers an attempt at a new spin on an old theme.  Jennifer proves to be a triple threat here as she not only directs this film, but also writes the script and plays a starring role.  Her past spirited works include the indie hit, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001), which she co-wrote and co-starred in with Heather Juergensen.

Image Courtesy of Lionsgate

Filmed entirely in New York City, Friends with Kids, proposes the story of two best friends who decide to have a child together while keeping their own relationship platonic. We follow them and their closest of friends who are married with kids over a period of time as they play well with each other, share happy meals and as so often happens, are forced to take time outs. The film dishes up a splendid ensemble cast of actors (a director’s dream list, really) who transition from comedy to drama seamlessly. It includes a number of happy faces from last year’s popular film, Bridesmaids like Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, John Hamm (Westfeld’s real life beau and AMC's Mad Men dreamboat) and Chris O’Dowd. This is Chris O’Dowd’s first trip down the road as a leading man and he does indeed walk tall. Ed Burns and Megan Fox make for great eye candy while playing pivotal roles within the storyline. Quirky dialogue, fresh premise and even pacing aside, “Friends with Kids,” is fun and entertaining but ultimately free falls for the easy out.

Our panelists, Jessy Blanchard, the owner of her own cupcake company; Danielle Winston, a screenwriter and yoga instructor; and Shirley Joel, a retired advertising veteran who currently executive produces a bi-monthly cable television program; hook up with our host, Stefanie Alleyne, at the Wix Lounge, a free work and event space for creative professionals in the Flatiron District in New York City to discuss this thoroughly modern romantic comedy. To learn more about today's panelists and to view our other recent reviews, visit http://letstalkfilm.com/2012/03/28/film-review-friends-with-kids/

Did you see Friends With Kids?  What did you think?

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