Despite Friends with Kids trying to be different with it’s story, it does end up being pretty predictable. Thankfully it’s got enough going for it to elevate the rest of the movie above it’s predictable plot.
Friends with Kids is the story of Jason and Julie, two great friends who know each other inside out, and who are both unfortunately single. Jason tends to go through girlfriends at a fairly rapid rate, while Julie is still looking for Mr Right, hoping that he’ll arrive before her biological clock ticks its last tock. As much as Jason and Julie would like to find someone and live happily ever after, they see their friends getting married, have kids, and then slowly watch their marriages unravel. They both want to have kids, but they don’t want any of the issues or baggage that seems to come with marriage. Since they both feel this way, they decide that they will have a kid together, but as friends, not as lovers.
So you can pretty much see where this is going. Two friends who obviously like and care for each other, but lack that little extra spark that would be necessary for their friendship to become romantic. What starts off as a fairly simple idea (having a baby without the baggage) obviously becomes a lot more (predictably) complicated as the story unfolds. This is Friends with Kids greatest, and probably only, weakness. Is it enough to make the movie unwatchable? Thankfully, no.
While the characters in Friends with Kids are a little “typical” of the middle to late 30′s crowd, they all serve a purpose and are brought to life by the actors who play them. It’s actually quite scary (in a good way) how convincing Adam Scott (Jason) and Jennifer Westfeldt (Julie) are as the friends whose friendship gets turned upside down once they have a kid together. They seem to go from platonic to romantic surprisingly well, and there’s definitely some kind of chemistry between them. The other characters, who mostly exist to serve as a warning to the dangers of marriage, are also paired with actors who bring a little something extra to the table.
Jon Hamm plays the role of Ben, one of the husbands whose marriage is falling apart around him. There’s a scene in which we watch Ben and Jason arguing over dinner. This scene had me feeling and awkward while I sat in my seat, I literally felt like a character sitting at the table watching this argument unfold. Perhaps the only actor who I had any issues with is Megan Fox. Megan Fox is always easy on the eyes, but I never feel like she’s playing a role. I always feel like she’s just being herself, which I would be OK with if I didn’t find her slightly annoying to watch.
Friends with Kids is quite funny, with some snappy one liners in the beginning of the movie. Once the movie crosses the half way point and “reality” starts kicking in for your two new parents, you realise that it’s definitely about the drama that Jason and Julie’s little experiment has created.
Friends with Kids is definitely aimed at an older audience that’s made up of new couples who are having kids, or older couples who have already been through the process.
The Bottom Line
Friends with Kids is a bit predictable, but some good performances and a few great scenes lift the movie above it’s by-the-numbers script. It’s definitely not for the incredibly jaded or for anyone who cringes and groans whenever they see a typical Hollywood ending, but those of us who are more than a little bit sentimental will undoubtedly enjoy this movie. Well, at least the first time you watch it.
About the writer
Rowan Govender, a writer and artist who is more commonly known by his pen name Rowango, graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with an Honors degree in Media in 2006. He relocated to Cape Town in 2007 to pursue his interest in writing and film. He is currently employed part time in the Technical Writing industry, while he pursues personal creative projects.