Friday, March 9, 2012

Friends With Kids. A Review.

     I really liked the movie Friends with Kids. Its strength was its writing—it had a clear voice and a clear point of view. It wasn't trying to be an Everyman movie and I applaud that. It had its piece to say and it said it so well. It was great.
     Of course the cast was also wonderful. Basically I think you could put Maya Rudolf, Chris O'Dowd, Kristin Wiig, Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, and Jennifer Westfeldt in a blank room for 2 hours, and it would be great. Their performances were pitch perfect. You'd want to be friends with these people and go on ski weekends with them and even be in the room during their most awkward moments.
     There was a moment I thought it seemed long. But I get like that because really, there was nothing you could cut out. In fact, there were things I wanted to see more of. In the end I retract it and say it wasn't too long. I think the feeling just happened because there was no clear, obvious place for the movie to go. There was no hit us over the head conclusion and that's a good thing.
     (This is cause for debate among other viewers. Some say that because it's a RomCom the ending is obvious. Or because it's a movie its ending is obvious. Well, sure, the nature of the story leads us to expect something in the realm of happiness. We know we're watching a film of the romantic and comedic variety so I suppose we expect the leads to get together. But based on the story itself, we really couldn't be sure of it. I stand by my statement.)
     The story spanned six years but we had no idea that was the case going in. The film played with its time jumps in nice seamless ways, only using the text-on-screen device once. We jumped from conception to birth and then hit birthdays and holidays. Time was passing, as it does, and we were ok with that. The ride felt natural. It's also what led me to that unsettling "when will it end" feeling. And I don't mean that in a mean oh-my-god-it's-taking-forever way. I mean really, at what point in their story does the film end?
     That makes it sound like I'm complaining about the structure or the end in some way. I'm not. Or I don't mean to. I think they ended it perfectly. I was surprised the end was THE END, but in a good way. I'm glad I didn't know that was the end.
     I would love to get into Jennifer Westfeldt's head. That was good writing. I barely have the words to say how good it was, which is unfortunate since I'm trying to write about it. She did what we all want to do. She had a point of view. Her characters were all grounded. They weren't caricatures of people. Maybe Megan Fox was (because she's Megan Fox and I don't care about her), and there was a moment later in the movie when I wanted Jason to stop being obsessed with tits. But then I realized he just took longer to get there. That's all that was happening. He just didn't realize it until late an that actually turned out great.
     This was that rare blend of comedy and heart. We laughed and we cried. Genuinely. And sometimes the laugh would come when we thought it'd be a tear. It was just so goddamn well done. That's a script that should be studied in school, I think. Jennifer Westfeldt should be nominated for an Oscar. Perhaps I'm gushing too mush. (This is very possibly overstated based on the high of just seeing the film and meeting the star. I swooned. So what.) Maybe it's too fresh in my mind. I already want to see it again. The ensemble cast was so very good. Gush gush.
     It's definitely an adult comedy. It deals with adult themes and things that really affect peoples lives. It's kinda big but also nice and small. It's about the families we make. And when we're grown ups we choose our families except we still kinda don't because we can realize after 20 years our family isn't the perfect guy we've been searching for but instead a giant ball of mess that's been with us all along. 
     My friends are having kids and talking about having kids and our conversations sometimes echo the ones in the film. Except my friends aren't as forthright, honest, or amusing as the folks in the movie. Friends With Kids is a movie that would make my one friend who gets uncomfortable watching movies that hit too close to home feel uncomfortable. And I love it!

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