Monday, March 12

Friends with Kids (or In Defence of The Rom-Com)

Take a look at that poster and tell me why I shouldn't want to see this film. 
Oh hey, cast of Bridesmaids, plus Adam Scott (from Parks and Recreation and Party Down) and Jennifer Westfeldt (partner of Jon Hamm and writer, director and star of this here film).

Friends with Kids is the story of two friends, Jason (Scott) and Julie (Westfeldt) who decide to have a child together, whilst maintaining their platonic relationship, in order to avoid the same romantic breakdown as their other friends, with kids.

There have been a lot of films coming out recently, which are being billed as 'not your ordinary romantic comedy' or 'not like those other romantic comedies', examples? From memory Friends with Benefits (which ended up more rom-com, than a lot of rom-coms I've seen), No Strings Attached (which I haven't seen, but I imagine was the same as '..Benefits'), Crazy Stupid Love, Bridesmaids... actually, if you google 'not your average romantic comedy' you'll see what I mean. So naturally, this is not your average romantic comedy, taking that childhood rhyme "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby..." and flipping it on it's head.

Not only does Friends with Kids look at Jason and Julie's unconventional relationship, it also looks at that weird phase in your life when, well, all your friends start having kids - I assume that's where 'not your average' comes in. Now, I'm not quite at this phase in my life, I'm more at the 'friends with long term relationships' phase. However, I can imagine the mix of emotions (elation, excitement, dread, fear, jealousy, boredom). So, what would Friends with Kids be without the proverbial friends?

There's Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O'Dowd, whose American accent is Orlando Bloom in Elizabethtown levels of terrible) whose children have taken over their lives and never find time to talk to each other. Then, there's Missy (Kristen Wiig) and Ben (Jon Hamm) whose sex life died the minute they had a baby, and have been at each others' throats since. And yet, despite all that, Jason and Julie decide to have a baby, based on the age old saying of "our child/we will be different". Obviously, that doesn't exactly happen, but it's the thought that counts. 

Honestly, I'm not quite sure in what way Friends with Kids isn't the average rom-com - other than the fact that people shout and swear a lot more in this than, say, You've Got Mail. 

As an example, I watched Something Borrowed a couple of weeks ago, which many would describe as 'your average romantic comedy'. It's a typical story of two childhood friends, one quiet and reserved brunette (Ginnifer Goodwin), the other an outgoing, bubbly and fun-loving blonde (Kate Hudson) - and if you really weren't sure of their personalities the brunette wore suits and the blonde wore mini-skirts. So, [spoilers, except, really?!] The brunette falls in love with her college crush, who, horror of horrors, is the fiance of her best friend, but it's ok because the brunette loved him first, but was too scared to tell him. Turns out college crush loves her too, blonde turns out to be a terrible person (so it's still okay!). And they all live happily ever after. I knew this was going to happen, not just from the first few minutes, but from a year ago, when I first saw the trailer. Yet, I enjoyed the film. Now, the point of that digression was that I don't see much difference between Something Borrowed and Friends With Kids - romantic comedy, predictability wise that is. In terms of film quality Friends... is a lot less cheesy, a lot less schmaltzy, a lot less Kate Hudsony and again a lot more shouty and sweary. Although, ultimately it is at face value your average romantic comedy story of boy meets girl, shenanigans happen, they fall in love, the end.

But isn't that the point of rom-coms, all rom-coms, you know they'll fall in love at the end, if you're lucky they might even kiss in the rain as an 80's power ballad slowly plays them out. Yes, it's predictable, but this isn't an M.Knight Shyamalan film. And let me tell you, once someone has told you that Bruce Willis is the ghost, I personally have no interest in watching that film; I will however, gasp in awe each and every time Patrick Swayze makes it clear, that nobody, not a single one of you, will put Baby in that corner.

So, is Friends with Benefits your average romantic comedy? Well, sort of. Does what you're expecting happen by the end of the film? Duh, of course it happens. Does that make it any less fun to watch, not at all.

Friends with Kids is due for release 29th June (UK).



  1. i want to see this! i so rarely get to movies, though, so i'm guessing it will be a while! and yes, i agree, everyone wants that predictable happy ending when it comes to rom-coms! great review!

  2. I saw a preview for this movie. It looks funny! Aren't all romcoms pretty predictable? haha

  3. Love it !!!!!

  4. There wasn’t anything here that made me laugh-out-loud but there was definitely just enough of insight and good performances to hold me over. However, when you have 4 of the main cast members from the biggest comedy of last year, it’s kind of lame to give them really nothing funny to do or say. Good review. It was a good one, just nothing all that special. Check out my review when you can.

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