Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friends with Kids

Scott and Westfedt contemplate parenthood ...  
and what it would take to get there.
Friends with Kids directed by Jennifer Westfeldt
September 10, 2011, Isabel Bader Theatre, 100 minutes

Why did I want to see this film? Two words: Jon Hamm. Hamm is the live-in boyfriend of director Jennifer Westfeldt. Westfeldt is an actress and sometime screenwriter best known for the indie hit Kissing Jessica Stein. Coincidentally, the screening of the film today marked the 10 year anniversary of the showing of that film at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

Best friends Jason played by Adam Scott as a hopeless womanizer perhaps remembered best, by me, for the TV series Tell me you love me which I really enjoyed and Julie played in the usually under-confident style by Jennifer Westfeldt, decide to conceive and co-parent their child. Turned off by the histrionics and bad behavior of their married friends with kids played with wit and humour by couples Maya Rudolph (Leslie) and Chris O’Dowd (Alex) and Jon Hamm (Ben) and Kristen Wiig (Missy) they are determined to do better.

And they do ... they are involved, dedicated, reasonable parents. They put their friends to shame. But things become complicated when they begin to date two other spectacularly attractive people, Megan Fox and the director/actor Edward Burns respectively.

Westfeldt is charmingly insecure here on film as Julie but how she has changed physically - pencil thin, now blonde and her face looks oddly angular (perhaps due to the loss of weight?). And Adam Scott as a womanizer capable of attracting a woman like Megan Fox? Hamm tries hard go recede in the background as the caustic, heavy drinking Ben in an unhappy marriage but when the female and male cast both rhapsodize about how great looking Ed Burns is, you know that someone has made the conscious decision to minimize Hamm's looks and make him take a back seat. 

Spoiler Alert (as if you didn't see this coming): I can't quite buy the conceit - you aren't friends for decades with a woman, decide there is no sexual attraction (which is why they co-parent but don't marry) and then have an epiphany that she truly is the one you want in the end.

As a side note, may I say how much I love Maya Rudolph and wish that she had her own comedic vehicle instead of playing the married or about to be married sidekick?

TIFF of the day: The cast was on hand for the Q&A: Westfeldt, Hamm, Fox and Scott. Westfeldt is lovely, generous of spirit, a bit tentative. Three rows back and Hamm still looked extraordinary! I really need a camera on this phone ...

No comments: