Friends with Kids is a film with a certain amount of appeal, though it disappoints in the long run. It's about two good friends, Jason and Julie, who have never been attracted to each other, but who decide to have a baby because she's getting older and he's into the idea of being a dad half the time as long as it doesn't interfere with dating. So they have sex just to conceive, or so they tell themselves, and soon have a darling baby boy whom they manage to care for with ease, grace and good humor. Their married friends, on the other hand, all seem to be disasters with parenting. They're always overwhelmed, they fight, and they lose their desire for each other. Julie and Jason feel, superiorly, like they're the ones who got it right. It's the perfect arrangement. Their last "romantic" words to each other before falling into each other's arms are the least romantic I've ever heard.

Then Jason meets a really sexy girl, which possibly makes Julie a little jealous, until Julie meets the perfect guy, and then everything is fine, right? Well, of course not, which is why the plot of Friends with Kids is as unsurprising as most rom-coms. However, it's not totally uninteresting getting to that inevitable ending. For this, we have the supporting actors to thank: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, John Hamm, and Chris O'Dowd, who make up Jason and Julie's circle of friends, Missy, Leslie, Ben and Alex. It's surprising to see actors of this caliber in these lesser roles. We think of Wiig and Rudolph as the stars of movies such as Bridesmaids; Hamm, of course, is the dreamy scumbag Don Draper on Mad Men, and the charmingly Scottish O'Dowd has had plenty of leading-man roles in various rom-coms of late. Each is excellent as one of the couples (Missy and Ben, Leslie and Alex) who start off in a state of wedded bliss and end up completely derailed by the messy business of having kids. What's nice about the performances of all four actors is that they don't fall back on their usual shticks. The two comic actresses, Wiig and Rudolph, are real, poignantly portraying women who have lost some part of themselves in motherhood, while the men are multi-faceted, not just idiot husbands without a clue, or womanisers.
Jennifer Westfeldt as Julie and Adam Scott as Jason are somewhat less captivating. Their confusion about their relationship isn't quite convincing - or maybe it's just the predictability of the situation: they want each other, it's obvious, get on with it. She's a bit dithering, he's a bit shallow ... the perfect couple. But when they finally do get together, the romantic build-up is lacking. As a matter of fact, their last "romantic" words to each other before falling into each other's arms are the least romantic I've ever heard in any movie of this kind. Jason: I wanna **** the **** out of you. Julie: **** the **** out of me. And the credits role. Not my idea of a satisfying finale. Yet though the romance doesn't really work, you may to relate to Friends with Kids as a parent. If you're not a parent, it might not completely put you off having children forever, maybe just for a little while.

Movie reviewed by Georgina Young-Ellis

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