9. Friends With Kids

       

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I really struggled writing this post because I wasn’t sure what to say about Friends With Kids.  I’ve been looking forward to this movie for quite a while.  I am a big fan of Jennifer Westfeldt’s two prior movies, so I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting myself into and it would be both enjoyable and thoughtful.  But, to be honest, I would’ve seen a movie written and directed by Rick Santorum if it featured this cast.  My god, has there ever been a better assemblage of actors in a single movie?  Don’t even get me started on how much I love Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm…I mean, I love them so much I would gladly take a job as their sassy latino housekeeper (I’m not latino; that’s just how much I would want the job) just so I could be a part of their lives.  Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig are hilarious perfection in female form as far as I’m concerned, and Adam Scott is as adorable as they come and can do no wrong in my eyes (not only is he Henry Pollard & Ben Wyatt, but he was also an integral part of my favorite Comedy Bang! Bang! episode).  And don’t think I forgot about Chris O’Dowd, who is one of my biggest celebrity crushes of all time (from The IT Crowd, long before Bridesmaids ya’ dummies (I don’t know why shit like this bothers me so much; it’s not a competition)).  Throw in Ed Burns and his sexy voice and not even a nuclear disaster could keep me away (I’m going to pretend Megan Fox wasn’t in this movie, although she did a fine job).

So, anyway, to make a long story short (TOO LATE!), I was pretty sure going in that I was going to enjoy this movie.  And—good news—I did enjoy this movie.  

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Happy Accidents with Jennifer Westfeldt on KCRW's "The Treatment"

Last week was a good week for the ladies in the podcast world. Last Monday was a great interview with Emily Kapnek, and on Wednesday The Treatment interviewed Jennifer Westfeldt about her new film Friends with Kids.

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Westfeldt since Kissing Jessica Stein came to theatres when I was in college. I remember watching it for the first time with my group of college girlfriends, and all of us cooing about how wonderful the story and relationship was. Ever since then, Westfeldt has always been on my radar of cool ladies to look out for.

I was stoked when I heard that she was in production on another movie that she wrote and would be starring in. When I found out that she was also directing it, I was even more stoked. In this interview, she speaks about how her journey into writing was an accidental one. And with some gentle nudging by producers involved with Friends with Kids, her journey into directing was accidental too.

Listen to her tell the story yourself here.

My friend James Ponsoldt, an amazing filmmaker, put the thought about directing into my head one day over cocktails at some filthy dive bar in L.A. He said, “We need more Miranda July’s in the world.” And he’s 100% right. We do need more Miranda July’s in the world. And more Jennifer Westfeldt’s now too. It makes me happy to see anyone writing, directing and starring in their work, but especially women. Female directors still account for a dramatically low percentage of directors out there. I’m not sure why, but with the July’s and the Westfeldt’s paving the way, I’m certain that more aren’t far behind. And I hope to include myself in that growing percentage too.

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Friends with Kids

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1 hour 47 minutes

Rated R (Sexual Content and Language)

Directed by Jennifer Westfeldt

Starring Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns

3 out of 4 stars

HITS PA THEATERS MARCH 9

Wait wait. Is this Bridesmaids 2 because Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd are all in it? Sadly no. Writer/director and star Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids is far from being a laugh-out-loud riot like Bridesmaids. And sadly, the four actors I just mentioned aren’t the main characters of the movie. Westfeldt (real-life girlfriend of Jon Hamm) and Adam Scott (who’s usually popular for playing small roles in a bunch of comedies like Piranha and Step Brothers but right now is big on NBC’s Parks and Recreation) play Julie and Jason. They’re 30 somethings living their lives in NYC as their coupled friends (Hamm and Wiig and Rudolph and O’Dowd) busy their lives with kids. So Jason and Julie think up of an idea. Why don’t they have a baby together without being a couple so they can ignore all the baggage that comes with marriage and relationships?

The movie does go off into cliches a bit near the third half. After they have their kid Jason and Julie start seeing two really hot people (Megan Fox and Edward Burns) but then (and I’m sorry but I guess I’m giving this away so SPOILER ALERT but it’s kinda obvious) they start to question if they should actually try and be together as a real couple. Westfeldt though is a smart writer and does her absolute best to not make it seem like a typical rom-com ending. Above all she has written a very real and intelligent comedy. The actors here are great at not overacting and they make themselves feel like real people that anybody could meet and befriend in New York. I love the Jason/Julie relationship. They have a relationship that you never really see in movies. They’re best friends and are free with experimenting with one another. They don’t mind having sex. They don’t mind agreeing to do this wild crazy experiment with having a baby without being a couple. Their relationship is very unique and Scott and Westfeldt are great together.

I did want the movie to have a few more jokes than it does but it’s more interested about being realistic than laugh-out-loud. I remember when it screened at Toronto last year some critics argued that they would have preferred Kristen Wiig in the lead role instead of Westfeldt. Well, Wiig is a little bit underwritten here but I think Westfeldt is beautiful and lovable in the lead role. It’s also wonderful to see Adam Scott play the main character for once too. He’s a natural at acting. Rudolph and O’Dowd are so enjoyable to watch. I’d definitely recommend Friends with Kids if you love original clever comedies about relationships in the Big Apple. And if you love watching a great cast work together.

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