The cast of Bridesmaids are reunited in this disappointingly unfunny look at unconventional parenting. It’s the directorial debut for Jennifer Westfeldt who also stars in the lead role as Jules, a woman who makes the decision to have a child with platonic BFF Jason (played by Adam Scott), minus the ‘meaness and anger’ that comes along with marriage and kids. Their best friends played by Bridesmaids alum Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Chris O’Dowd and Maya Rudolph provide the evidence that marriage and kids pretty much makes you miserable and boring, but are supportive to the point of ‘I hope they’re not better parents than us’ kind of way.
While the film started out positively, it lost steam towards the end and turned into a generic Hollywood rom-com, but with more talk about baby poo and far fewer laughs. Westfeldt delivered a stable female lead who was charming throughout, while Scott’s character is so annoyingly cocky that by the time he is able to sink his teeth into the first of two emotionally drawn out speeches his acting is the only reason I actually liked his character. Wiig and Hamm play the troubled married couple with the former having very little comic material to work with and somewhat far removed from the usual witty female characters of her career so far. O’Dowd, even with a cringe worthy American accent provided genuine laughable moments to the film’s mostly serious content, paired with Rudolph the couple were an oddly perfect match.
Friends with Kids is unfunny to the point of it being uncomfortable in some places, almost as though you’re eavesdropping on the table next to you where everyone is having some sort of breakdown. Saying this however, it was evident by its sharp comments and observations on marriage and kids that the film is drawn from real experience, giving the film an honesty and intensity that couldn’t be faked by a less experienced writer and director. There’s a combination of rare Hollywood charisma and intelligence here that is unfortunately squeezed into a generic romantic comedy mould, debilitating any form of unconventional ending the film would have suited. Bridesmaids the Sequel, this certainly isn’t but it is surprisingly truthful, and poses a question most films haven’t dared to touch: ‘how can you love a kid – a stranger that comes into your life, more than the person you choose to be with?’ It may be controversial to open up the ‘progressive child rearing experiment’ plot line, but the film does make you ponder that query.