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Friends With Kids - Blu-ray Review

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Friends With Kids

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2 stars

Fresh off the rousing success of last year’s Bridesmaids, four members of that cast rejoin for Jennifer Westfeldt’s indie comedy Friends With Kids, an anemic little film that hits in stops and spurts but ultimately feels like nothing more than a feature-length sitcom.

Westfeldt, who also co-wrote and starred in 2001’s enchanting Kissing Jessica Stein, adds director to her resume and joins her cast of Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, and Chris O’Dowd for what will likely draw considerable attention from those looking for the offspring of Bridesmaids. Most will be disappointed however, as Friends With Kids is way too tame for that crowd (despite its R rating) and certainly won’t find a niche with real-life friends with kids who can be spotted in the next house over taking in some Dr. Seuss with kids in tow.

Also joining the star-studded cast is Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott as Jason, fellow Manhattanite and BFF to Julie (Westfeldt). Both now in their 30s, and neither having found a permanent relationship, they concoct a plan to foil the pitfalls of new parenthood that has plagued best friend couples Leslie and Alex (Rudolph and O’Dowd), and Ben and Missy (Hamm and Wiig).  Wondering what has happened to their once fun-loving friends now waist-deep in parenting duties, Jason and Julie begin pondering whether couples can maintain true romance in life – AND also have children.  Jason offhandedly suggests a way to beat the system - have a child together but live apart and split the parenting duties equally. Each will be 100% committed half the time.” If he’s right, raising a child will be only half as difficult, and there will still be time for each to pursue romantic interests.

Yes, it’s a fairly flimsy hook, and one that is milked way past its prime with very little payoff. As Julie and Jason have their little Joe and are the most competent, functional, loving pair of unmarried parents one could hope for, their blissful setting draws the interest and ultimately the ire of harried mom Leslie who hopes the scheme implodes. Loveable oaf and slacker husband Alex, who doesn’t completely grasp the idea of parenthood anyway, loves the idea of occasionally being able to pass off the kid to baby-mama to pursue love interests on the side. He’s envious of the two-timing situation Jason has carved out for himself.

Along the way Jason & Julie each have their temporary flings: he with young Broadway dancer Mary Jane (Megan Fox) who we’re supposed to hate because she openly voices her dislike of kids; she with recently divorced father Kurt (Ed Burns), who we’re supposed to hate because he’s just so darn nice and perfect.

But anyone who’s ever watched a romantic comedy knows where all this is headed and Westfeldt fails to keep us on our toes with anything clever, brilliant, or unexpected. The TV-seasoned cast makes for interesting enough table conversation, but despite a running stretched vagina joke, there’s never anything outrageously funny, deep or edgy about the proceedings. Wiig is wasted in her more serious role with very little screen time as is most of the rest of the ensemble cast. In fact the entire situation is mostly wasted in a comedy that is rarely funny and shockingly formulaic.

While the framework for a brilliant comedy is in place, nothing funny is ever said and no one comes off as a genuine person with real-life problems. A New Year’s Eve dinner sequence comes the closest to anything we can call real, but even then it’s mostly just a downer with nothing that follows to lighten the emotional load. Friends With Kids is a comedy without funny.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Friends With KidsMPAA Rating: R for sexual content and language.
Director
: Jennifer Westfeldt
Writer
: Jennifer Westfeldt
Cast: Jennifer Westfeldt; Adam Scott; Jon Hamm; Kristen Wiig; Maya Rudolph; Chris O'Dowd; Megan Fox
Genre: Romance | Comedy
Tagline:
Love; Happiness; Kids - Pick Two.
Memorable Movie Quote: "We can each be 100% committed half the time."
Distributor:
Roadside Pictures
Official Site:
www.friendswithkids.com
Release Date: March 10, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 17, 2012.

Synopsis: Friends With Kids is a daring and poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. The last two singles in the group observe the effect that kids have had on their friends' relationships and wonder if there's a better way. They decide to have a kid together - and date other people.

There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as this unconventional 'experiment' leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family and, finally, true love..

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 17, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region encoding: Locked to Region A

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature-length audio commentary with Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm and William Rexer

Special Features:

  • Making Friends With Kids
  • Ad-libs and Bloopers
  • Scene 42: Anatomy of a Gag
  • MJ Rocks at Video Games
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary

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