Incorporating four of the five main actors from the 2010 smash-hit, Bridesmaids, new comedy blockbuster Friends With Kids holds a lot of promise with its cast’s reputatio. It seems logical to think now, after shooting up through the ranks, that anything with Kristen Wiig’s face on it is going to be golden. However, sadly, this is not the case. Taking out Wiig’s ten (maximum) lines, you are left with one hundred and six minutes of so-so humour.
Centring around the Nora Ephron concept of “men and women can never be friends”, the film seems to put three couples, all of different levels and states of happiness, together, and attempts to gain humour from the different scenarios they find themselves in after having children. Whether the couple start off incredibly oversexed, completely in sync with one another’s feelings, or completely dependable, each relationship seems to take a turn for the worse after a baby is thrown in the mix. This is, admittedly, not the best image to be thrown out there. Nor original. Nor better than any of its predecessors that have dished out the same concept. Furthermore, it doesn’t fully centre on six characters. There are only two protagonists that we fully see dealing with parenthood, as they are the two that aren’t together.
In all honesty, there is a lot more negatives to be said about this film, than there are positives. Written, produced, directed and starring Jennifer Westfeldt, who plays one of the film’s protagonists, of which there are only two – don’t get fooled by the poster – the film seemed a little too self-indulgent. It seemed, perhaps understandably, that Jennifer feels undercut at being known only as John Hamm’s partner. Maybe, in an attempt to gain a little bit more respect and not be the underdog to Kristen Wiig, and in many respects Maya Rudolph, she has decided to take the bull by the horns and make success, rather than take it. However, by simply looking at the film’s poster, you can see that Kristen is still getting the limelight, after she gets given central-point by the marketing team.
In many ways, this film could have been successful. There was nothing particularly bad about the story, just as there was nothing particularly bad about the acting. However, it just didn’t have any original merit that made other romantic-comedy greats, such as When Harry Met Sally, or Love Actually, stand out from the crowd. There was no great niche element that separated it from things that haven’t been done before – even the element of trying to date, when you should be looking after a baby, has been covered by the writers of Friends.
Perhaps if there were a greater risk factor for the protagonists, if they didn’t raise the baby correctly, this would have been funnier. Perhaps if it had a fresh-eyed director, it would have been better. However, this film really missed the mark at incorporating real-life issues and comedic elements. Therefore, as it stands, this film will go in to a long list of ho-hum comedies that will have greater merit in providing answers to a film-connection-quiz, that it will at entertaining the masses.
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