After a few weeks in theatres, I finally got a chance to see Friends With Kids. I'd been intrigued by the trailer -- it reunited four members of the Bridesmaids cast and four actors that I enjoy separately as well.
Also, as a relatively newly married person who has often pondered the right time for kids, I was interested in what perspective or insight this movie would provide. Not that I'm going to decide to have kids because a movie told me to, but you get the idea.
The film focuses on six friends: two married couples and a male/female best friendship. Julie and Jason are the best friends who watch as their friends go from madly in love and sexual city people to sleepless, frustrated zombies with kids who often don't have time to venture out of the house. Despite this, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) confess their own desires to have a child and decide to have one together, but not enter a romantic relationship. We follow them from birth of their son, Joe, and over the next three years watch as they co-parent together while in relationships with other people. We see the struggles they face, particularly Julie, who realizes (to not much surprise from me) that she's in love with Jason.
Their friends, Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O'Dowd, sans accent) presented perhaps the most tender, real and human relationship of the movie. With two kids, some bickering and nagging at one another, you can still tell they are a couple in love. They bitch and complain about each other like any other couple does at times, but finds love and intimacy in their seldom and short time alone together -- usually while the kids are asleep.
Things do not go not nearly as for Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig). At the beginning of the film they are so wildly in love they have sex in restaurant bathrooms, but the birth of their baby seems to drive a wedge between them. They can't agree on anything and are awful and bitter toward each other which builds up to an extremely tense and telling ski weekend with everyone in Vermont. Unfortunately, they separate and presumably divorce. Ben later tells Jason that they couldn't stand together when things were bad, and if you don't have the person you need the most beside you during the bad times, it can't last -- which is a valid point most certainly.
Jason and Julie face their own hardships when Julie confesses her feelings and is rebuffed by a relationship-phobic Jason. He isn't ready to deal with everything his best friend is telling him. She moves to Brooklyn and Jason begins to feel the pangs of her absence and the distance from his son. This ultimately culminates into a dramatic and romantic ending. I usually love this in movies, but in this film I found I couldn't enjoy it as much.
While I realize a movie is in fact a work of fiction and not one to be taken too seriously, I couldn't help feeling freaked out. Everyone knows having kids has a major impact on your life and your relationship and/or marriage, but through particularly poignant acting and dialogue, you saw it happen to Missy and Ben right before your eyes and it was scary. With so many sad moments between couples arguing and their stress of raising children, it left me wondering how you can ever know you've made a right decision about anything for sure.
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