Aneesh Chaganty

Friends With Kids | MAD Review

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM

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Friends With Kids 

(2012, US, d. Jennifer Westfeldt)

There was a huge chunk in Friends With Kids during which I was absolutely convinced I hated it. But then, I started to realize it wasn’t the movie I hated, but everything it was depicting that I detested. In fact, it was purely because of the film’s effectiveness that I felt the way I did. 

Friends With Kids tells the story of six friends – but primarily follows Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt). It spans several years as Jason and Julie begin to notice that all of their married friends are becoming considerably unhappier after having kids. So they come up with a plan that has all the benefits but none of the problems: Conceive a kid together, raise him, and continue to look for love in other places. Of course, scores of romantic comedies past tell us this won’t work. 

Though I was turned off by the romantic-comedy set-up it provided, the other elements in the film really overshadow it – in a good way. In fact, the worst parts of the film were when it tried to seek shelter in the cliches and conventions of the genre. Unfortunately, it does this quite a bit. Personally, I would have liked to see Westfeldt take more risks with the story. It’s a common trait in modern romance films. She makes a point for 75 minutes and then reverts back to a conventional ending.  But despite these flaws, the film worked. 

To be honest, I barely laughed during this film; I was too busy being completely depressed. And though it has a cast that screams “This movie is hilarious”, it isn’t. The cast, however, is wonderful and perfectly cast. In fact, it makes the film even more effective to see these comical and genial actors take on such somber roles.

The reason I thought I hated this film was because it confused me with my thoughts on modern American marriages. Friends With Kids does a wonderful job of depicting the modern union. And though it never prescribes or tries to take on a pedagogical stance, it serves more as a mirror to urban society and how we view marriage today. My views on this don’t belong in this review; but let’s just say watching Friends With Kids put a serious hold on my plans for marriage anytime soon. 

A final warning: This movie is not funny. But watch it. It’ll make you re-evaluate your priorities. Unless you’re married – in which case, it’ll just depress you for a very long time. 

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