Friends with Kids has a somewhat awkward start where it seems like it’s trying to set the right tone, but pretty soon you realise that there is no tone to set and that is what makes this film so damn good. It is basically about two friends, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt), who after watching their friends have disastrous experiences with having kids, decide to have a child too, even though they are not in love – or rather because they are not in love, so that they can date other people. It’s a shaky theory, and the films makes it pretty clear on both sides – naturally, Jason and Julie think this is the most brilliant idea ever, while their friends think exactly the opposite – but most importantly, it’s doesn’t try make any kind of social statement or judgement, no matter what the outcome is.
From this point on, it’s all about human dynamics, relationships of any kind – we watch some of them grow and some of them fall – but without sugarcoating, and certainly without melodrama. This is what I meant about no tone to set. There is no pop song to let you know you should feel good, no nostalgic sunlight between a kiss and certainly no spinning camera movements. The fact is, it’s two hours of eight people having the most absurd conversations and heated discussions, in situations that anyone of us could or did, in fact, go through. Minus the two friends having a baby, of course.
Every problem that arises is depicted from two or more points of view, in long uncut scenes that give time for the acting to actually take place and evolve. It’s not an original plot nor technique, but it is a different way of approaching it: when it comes to how the birth of a child affects the lives of the parents, it’s incredibly honest and has no pretensions, revealing an interesting talent for behavior observation from Westfeldt. Friends with Kids is so simple, with such naturally flowing dialogue and effortless acting, from everyone involved, and so vigorous, that it feels real – something that usually lacks in romantic comedies.
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