Lotus Land Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
It’s hard to tell what’s wrong with Friends With Kids, but the feeling it’s going to be a bumpy (yawny) ride hits you right at take-off.
Maybe it’s that you have six people — three men and three women — who are funny and trying not to be. They’re dumbed down by a topic and a theme that is about as disastrous in its inception as the movie’s plot line is for its characters — which has evolved from can friends have sex? to can friends have sex and then have kids?
Maybe it’s that none of these characters seem to have an idea of what age they are, or what age they want to be. (It’s tough to know which of those is worse.)
The film has its funny bits, like when Adam Scott is covered in sh*t and calmly sewing on his son’s diaper, or anytime Jon Hamm is on screen, really (and, he’s not on screen enough). Still, supporting character Edward Burns is chronically underused, while Maya Rudolph is chronically overused.
(NOTE: Burns, for his part, has pulled off this kind of movie on his own several times, as an actor and as an actor-director. The Brothers McMullen and She’s The One are two of the better romantic dramedies you’ll ever see.)
(NOTE: Rudolph is funny and all, but nobody should get this many roles from just whining her way through 90 minutes or a failed first season of some TV show starring Will Arnett.)
The film also has its nothing moments, and those moments tend to be the norm in a movie more paced by a flatline than a pace. There are all the needless scenes of Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt (who wrote the script and who I also really like, so I’m trying to keep that into consideration while ripping this one apart) riding the New York subway for no reason other than to sneak philosophical discussions into our cinematic (or Netflix-based) experience.
Then there is the dinner scene on the group’s ski trip, which takes a ridiculously out-of-bounds turn because Hamm and Kristen Wiig decide to turn a friendly New Year’s into the roundtable at the Reichstag.
Movies work when young people act old (Superbad) and when old people act young (I hate to say it, but It’s Complicated kind of pulled it off).
This movie — Friends With Kids — is about people in between old and young, and they don’t seem to have any idea which way to go.
Well… that about sums it up.