Friends With Kids

Friends With Kids
There are, apparently, two kinds of people in the hip urban world: those who sneer at families that bring children to "fancy" restaurants, and those who either have kids and lives that include kids, or just plain people who have grown up and aren't clinging to their hip, groovy narcissism. Kudos to writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt for so skillfully exposing this divide, and bringing it out of the shadowy world of snarky interweb chat rooms and onto the silver screen.

"Friends With Kids" is a surprisingly good modern romance film, with edgy humor that is matched by the script's soulfulness and emotional intelligence. This is sort of a "chick flick," but of the modern variety with acerbic dialogue and plenty of cussing, but also with a strong emotional core, and a real point to make. The movie opens at a fancy restaurant where three couples of footloose yuppie BFFs meet for one of their regular nights on the town. A few tables away there is a family with some slightly noisy children and this of course sets the hipsters off -- breeders!! curse them!! -- until one couple announces (oopsie!) that they are going to have a kid soon. Parenthood enters all their lives and they all deal with it differently.

This movie -- written, directed by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt -- has some of the best couples-fighting scenes and she's-just-one-of-the-guys boy-girl dialogue I've seen in a film, and top-notch acting throughout. John Hamm seems like a peripheral character right up until the end when he gets two great scenes -- one loud, the other quiet -- while costars Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Adam Scott and Kristen Wiig deliver solid performances as well. The pivotal scene in which Adam Scott's NYC uber-hipster switches teams to play for the adults is wonderfully understated, and decisively flips the script on the self-involved pretty people, using their own language and status symbols to drive home the point that you can be human as well as hip. The dramatic buildup is a little slow, but the payoff is worth it. Recommended

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