Last night M invited me to a preview of the movie Friends with Kids. It had debuted at the various film festivals and will be making its general debut very soon. Written/directed/acted by Jessica Westfeldt, the ensemble cast was made up of Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Edward Burns and Megan Fox.
Set in NYC, the movie delved into the lives of two practically lifelong friends, Julie (J. Westfeldt) and Jason (A.Scott) who live in the same building, share many things in common and enjoy each other’s company BUT are not romantically interested in each other. Julie and Jason have couple friends Leslie and Alex (M. Rudolph/C. O’Dowd) and Missy and Ben (K.Wiig/J.Hamm). Their couple friends are newly involved and hanging out at a restaurant. Everyone is in a good mood, smiling and chatting up a storm. Missy and Ben, not originally at the table, return disheveled as they are in the honeymoon phase of their relationship and pretty much fuck whenever and wherever. As they are talking, Jason hears the shriek of a child and sees a family had brought a rambunctious child into the restaurant. He snidely remarks how children should never be brought to fancy restaurants or be brought out at all. To wit, we find out that Leslie and Alex are planning for a baby. This sets up what is to come.
Flash forward to a few years later we find that both couples have children. They just look exhausted and pretty much uninterested in each other. Snipping about everything, they all come together for Jason’s birthday out in Brooklyn where Leslie and Alex live. Jason and Julie are still single but happy. We find the only ones who remain interested in the birthday bash to be Jason and Julie. They end up in a bar/restaurant in Brooklyn, sipping espresso and talking about what happened to their friends. They talk about how having children would be amazing but how to keep romance from being ruined by marriage and kids. They decide to have a baby together but keep their separate lives intact: Julie will still look for the “one” and Jason will still go after young, big breasted, sexual sirens. The awkwardness of going from friends to friends with benefits is hilariously but realistically done. I’ve been there and done that. It is awkward at first people. They end up having a beautiful baby boy.
The movie proceeds to show how they can work out the arrangement and they do a wonderful job in the first year but cracks begin to show. Feelings form, things get complicated and well, I’ll leave it at that. I’ll just say, I liked how it ended. I know there were people who didn’t like the ending or for that matter the line Jason uses at the end of the movie but I think it works. You take the movie altogether, and not just in pieces. Together, the line makes sense. Independently it is crass and crude. As for how the movie ended, I think it was natural. The way everything evolved, from my perspective, was how it could occur in the real world. As for the premise of having a child with only some strings attached, I wonder if that can work out. Feelings will get in the way, but at the same time, is having emotions considered a problem? If people care about each other, and have a child or have a child then have emotions, what’s wrong with it? Traditional is not always correct. Unconventional can be the norm. The movie was a fun surprise. It had fun and serious moments. I found that while I wasn’t the only male in the audience, whenever the baby was shown and I heard the collective “awwwws” from the crowd, I swore I could hear biological clocks ticking.
After the movie, Entertainment Weekly, which was hosting the event, had a Q&A session with none other than Adam Scott. Adam was gracious and a really nice guy. He looks young but I found he is actually older than me. Family man, he talked about the movie, working with the cast and if any awkwardness with love scenes with Jessica while Jon Hamm was on the set. He said the love scenes didn’t have Hamm around luckily. Found out he was drawn to acting with Raiders of the Lost Ark. A movie, to this day that he goes nuts over. I can relate. He mentioned his characters from Parks and Recreations as well as Party Down. Hoped for a Party Down movie and did his catch phrase from Party Down. Also, when asked who was better to have sex with, Amy Poehler or Megan Fox, he went on about how they were three married people and he would get hell for answering such a question, especially since they are all different, then answered POEHLER. After the Q&A, Adam stuck around for pictures and autographs so I convinced M to go up to one of her favorite stars and get a picture with him. She asked me if I would join her and I told her I would even though I felt bad as I am not a frequent watcher of Parks and never saw Party Down. I did remember his character from Stepbrothers. Anyway, I was able to meet him, shook his hand and told him I thought the movie was wonderful and thanked him for taking time to talk to us. Nice guy and very down to earth. Speaking of pictures, I’ve attached a few I took of him. The picture of the three of us was taking with M’s camera but I won’t post until she sends it to me.
Overall I would recommend people to see the movie. It was funny and not as chick flick-ish as I expected. Funny and frank discussions about relationships and whether romance dying due to marriage is something that can be avoided. Movie confirmed to me that romance can continue in marriage, it just evolves.