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Bad Movie Tuesday: Friends With Kids

July 17, 2012

If you read the weekly Bad Movie Tuesday you’ve noticed that I always find positives to bad movies. I like to know why the movies went wrong or why the dialogue is so bad. When watching Friends With Kids I found myself increasingly annoyed at the black and white creation by people who thought they were making a worldly film. The singular vision and the simplicity parading as depth prevented the film from becoming a stand out chapter in the romantic comedy world. So, the best thing you can take from this film is that singular visions can often elevate or hinder the material.

Two people who don’t want to deal with the responsibilities of marriage decide to have a kid without the hang ups of a relationship. Of course, this plan will not work and eventually one of them will make a quick u-turn and speed towards the other’s house while Shattered (turn the car around) by OAR plays on the soundtrack. Friends With Kids boasts progressive thought but is no different from every other romantic comedy. The achilles heal for this film is that it is too simple. Everything is black and white. There is very little grey. You can tell that it is the sole idea produced, directed and written by Jennifer Westfeldt who also stars.

Westfeldt is the long time partner of Jon Hamm and is known for Kissing Jessica Stein and Ira and Abby. Both of those films feature plots about people who are tired with their current situation so they try something new and it doesn’t work out. Friends With Kids is more of the same and centers around two wealthy good-looking people who have not settled down and have no plans because marriage and babies kills relationships. However, both want children so they decide to make a baby and share the responsibilities while they date other people. At this point of the film I was saying “oh, geesh.” I knew exactly what would follow. The three things include two best friends, two baxters (romantic foils) and a loving reunion.

Friends With Kids is a movie that alienates the audience with its characters and plot. From the beginning you know the plan will not work because it is not thought out at all due to absolute arrogance.  The movie also takes likable characters and turns them into selfish people with little social tact. Adam Scott hates organized religion and broke up with a woman because she voted for Bush in 2004. He doesn’t want marriage because he is a Lothario who can woo anyone and pulls down Megan Fox after several sentences. He insults parents who bring their kids out to dinner and makes fun of his friends for only having sex once a month. Also, when he and Jennifer go to a ski lodge for a weekend they argue because each will be having loud sex and they don’t want the baby in the room.

This film reminds me of the strange film Larry Crowne. Crowne was so nice that you forgot that he has no real world problems, committed adultery with Julia Roberts and owned a beautiful house despite working at a Costco knock off. Friends With Kids features a hot ensemble cast and sweeping monologues that sound intelligent. However, when the facade wears away you are stuck with a preposterous plot, selfish rich characters and all the clichés you can dream of.

The strangest aspect of this film is that the children are treated as bratty, loud and life wrecking. They cry, they scream at restaurants and drive marriages apart. The parents have zero control and are driven mad. Kids are plot points and you feel bad for a kid that was produced out of convenience and not love. Roger Ebert wrote a wonderful review for this film and sums it up by saying:

“It feels like an artificial screenplay concoction that’s perhaps pitched at moviegoers 15  or 20 years younger than the stars — audiences who don’t have the experience to understand the whole child-sharing scheme is cockamamie.”

Watch Friends With Kids, Feel bad for the kids and realize the cockamamie.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    August 17, 2012 7:05 pm

    Wow. Talk about a real downer. This flick boiled down to several grins powerfully overwhelmed by soul-sinking pessimism.

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  1. Bad Movie Tuesday: The Good Bad, the Bad Bad and the Ugly Bad of 2012 « Movies, Films & Flix

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