Friends with Kids ★★★★★

Today I wanted to hit up one of the pre-noon $6 AMC movies. I was expecting this to be at best a passable rom com, and just hoping to see a couple good performances from an on-paper solid cast, and ended up very surprised to find out that for a good chunk this taps into classic Woody Allen territory.

Adam Scott is pretty much perfect in this movie, and it’s probably the best thing he’s done. On the strength of his performance alone I'd recommend fans of his run on Party Down and Parks and Rec to give this a chance. His character is a typical skirt chaser, but written with enough charm, intelligence and depth that he avoids being anything near Barney from How I Met Your Mother. He's written with a good number of faults as well, immature, smug, and over the course of the film he has to overcome himself rather than plot contrivances or betrayals.

Likewise Jennifer Westfeldt comes across as both smart and progressive, strong and self assured but decidedly feminine. She reminds me of Juliet from LOST. She directed this film and also wrote a couple other romcoms I know have followings but that I've never seen (ie Kissing Jessica Stein)

I thought it would wade around the parenting gimmick too much but it actually barely does. It's really about making a platonic friendship even more complicated, upping the ante from the usual "Why don't they just get together?" story while making sharp observations about committed relationships vs. freedom. The script has its barbs towards children, loveless marriages, but also towards the arrogance and selfishness of young people who think they are better than such things and can find another way around them.

This movie has a lot to say about the jealousy, resentment and disappointment that can exist between platonic friends, and can get into a lot of raw pain with both the married couples and the single people. And it can do it all while still making some cutting jokes right in the middle of pointed confrontations.

The casting is top to bottom excellent. Some get more to do than others but overall everyone is very funny and even at times scatalogical without undermining its own emotional intelligence.

By the end it pushes a lot more towards the romantic end of things, and thankfully at that point the characters are very well built and for me it pays off in authentic and sincere ways. Adam Scott is given the ball to make a couple Big movie Speeches and he nails each of them. He gave me same the gulp in my throat that Crystal gave me during his big When Harry Met Sally speech.

I was really quite glad to see a romantic comedy that actually nails both. I think Crazy Stupid Love was pretty good, but this one for me was a step up.

In a final miracle, Megan Fox is actually good in this. I somehow didn't even recognize her at first because the person on screen was not sucking my will to live. Go fig.

Corey liked this review