March 10, 2012

Friends With Kids: Yuppies With Kids And I Don't Care

Must be nice to have a boyfriend who can rope up his high profile friends and get them to do your movie. However, an all-star cast and boyfriend, Jon Hamm's, connections cannot save Jennifer Westfeldt's vanilla bland Friends With Kids. With it's shoddy editing, eye rolling dialogue, and lead characters with the chemistry of two raw cucumbers, rubbing themselves together, in efforts to produce a spark, this film falls short.
    Friends With Kids is a story about long time pals Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) who are experiencing a turning point in their lives when they witness their group of friends ("Team Bridesmaids"  Jon Hamm coupled with Kristen Wigg and Maya Rudolph with Chris O'Dowd) change due to their roles as parents. They decide to have a child together without the complication of a relationship and from there feelings and problems arise.
    DO NOT BE FOOLED. This is by no means a fun ensemble film. If you're expecting hilarious banter from Wigg and Rudolph and charming zingers from O'Dowd and Hamm then you are best to wait for the confirmed Bridesmaids 2. The Bridesmaids pack are one of the few highlights of the film as they do the best they can with what is given to them. All of their acting is suburb and they nail  both comedy and dramatic sides of the film. You become so interested with the 2 couples and their problems that when the story leaves them and goes to the main characters you become sad. You actually care about them and would rather watch their struggles than worry about Julie and Jason. The movie literally gave them nothing to do.
     The problem I have with Friends With Kids is Jennifer herself. She is also the director and producer of this film (her first feature film if I'm correct) and I'm wondering if maybe it wasn't the best choice to put herself as the female lead. I know pointing out Westfeld's blatant botox is a cheap shot, but in this case it can't be avoided. Her almost lobotomized appearance delivers a stony performance that makes her almost unbearable to watch. Every reaction seemed forced and almost a struggle. Granted, at the end she managed to crank out a few tears and show some genuine emotions, but if this film is any indication of her acting prowess then she is definitely not lead actress material. The entire cast were acting rings around her (even Megan Fox showed more emotions than she did.) Worst of all her character Julie is such a boring push over. If Westfeldt had decided to stick with her job as a director and had casted a more interesting and capable actress in the lead role then this film, in my opinion, would have been a whole lot different. Jennifer's non-existent chemistry with the adorable Adam Scott makes their relationship even less believable. Scott's character Jason is such a tool at times that you hardly believe that a guy like him would ever tolerate such a spineless woman such as Julie. When they get together, I found myself not caring in the slightest. Their problems--irrelevant. Thank God we had a cute kid to look at.
    Despite the cheesy fade outs that one can find in a high school Final Cut project and horrible moments of dialogue that made me look up to the stained theater ceiling and contemplate why I was there in the first place, I can appreciate the story at hand. The plot had potential. With better writing it could've been a contender (very few laughs from the audience I saw this with.) This is not the worst movie I have ever seen, however, I can not forgive the film for wasting such excellent comic talent and throwing away a potentially solid story.

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