Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sketched Discussion: I ruin Friends with Kids

Here's my mini review for Friends with Kids: It's pretty good. It's kind of funny, about as funny as I thought Bridesmaids was(not hilarious and sometimes long and awkward) and its got a fairly realistic look at relationships with babies(or as realistic as I can surmise). It has some great acting, especially from Adam Scott who steals the show in a couple of really great scenes(and here's hoping he gets nominated because DAMN), and it kind of makes up for the first half hour of not very funny awkward relationship talks. Chris O' Dowd has a surprisingly good American accent, and the rest of the cast are well acted as well. It's an interesting premise, although I wish they did more with it.
Someone give this man an Oscar already!
Now that I have that out of the way, and you can decide whether or not you want to go see it, I want to spoil the movie by talking about the experiment they hatched, what they did with it, and how I wish they could have gone further. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The main premise of Friends with Kids is that two platonic best friends, Jason(Adam Scott) and Julie(Jennifer Westfeldt), decide to have a kid together, and share the responsibilities without getting into a relationship.  They see how miserable their friends have become after having kids, and they figure the best possible scenario is to already have a kid and then find your soul mate afterwards. Considering what your marriage can turn into if you have a child it's an interesting premise.

On the one hand, it's a terrible idea because in the best possible scenario a child should grow up with two loving parents, who also love each other, so they have the best possible chance not to get fucked up in the head later. On the other hand, considering the statistics of divorce and how many people think they love someone when they really don't, and then have a baby together either by accident or on purpose and THEN find out they hate each other and have to put a kid through that, why wouldn't you want to cut all that out?
Is there an award for being Jon Hamm? Because there should be.
Why it works out so well in the beginning is because they're both incredibly truthful to themselves and each other, they both respect each other enough to want to give the other a break, they each have their own lives, and they look at raising a kid like it's a job. Basically, how a parents SHOULD act with a new child, but don't.  And if they love each other(as friends) and both think the other is the best possible person to raise their child, and all they have different is they don't want to have sex with each other, why shouldn't it work out? Why can't that be a family?  How many couples stop having sex when their older? Why can't they tell their kid when he's old enough "Well we both love each other, but we both think you should marry someone if you're completely attracted to them, and we're not, but we still love each other and you"?

I honestly wanted their experiment to work out, and for them to each have their own separate lives. But being as this is a romantic comedy, OF COURSE they have to get together at the end. And it doesn't even feel like the movie is saying something about this not working as a viable child-bearing option so much as it feels like they have to get together at the end because that is rom-com law.

The main reason why they aren't together is because they aren't attracted to each other(or as it's later revealed, Jason isn't attracted to Julie).  I find that is a legitiame concern and why I was rooting for this relationship to work. You SHOULD be compeltly and fully attracted to your partner. The three main features of a relationship are similarity, caring, and attraction. If you just like the same things and you care about the other person but you aren't attracted to them, you're just friends. And that's why some marriages fall apart when they could have otherwise been great relationships: one person isn't attracted to the other anymore, they go out to find soemone they are attracted to, and love turns into jealousy and hate. Why can't a child be raised on love and caring without attraction?
I think these portraits turned out rather well.
Here's where it loses me: Julie finds she's attracted to Jason, but then she finds this amazing guy who's loving and she likes talking to and she's very VERY attracted to.  But she's still hung up on Jason, so she comes out to Jason, and when that doesn't work, she leaves him and dumps the boyfriend offscreen. This is one of my major irks of the movie, where is the  scene in which she has to explain to this great guy why it isn't working? There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with him, it's just that she's still hung up on Jason. And maybe I'm just an emotionless robot here, but if the relationship you wanted wouldn't work out and you still had another one with nothing wrong with it, wouldn't you just move on and stay with this great guy? I feel like that's what would happen in the real world. But, this is movie logic I suppose.

Then to make the cliche even worse, Jason suddenly decides that, well he is attracted to Julie. It feels like such a copout. In the real world, if you're not attracted to someone, you'e not attracted to soemone. It doesn't just flip on like a light switch, otherwise life would be way easier. Then people wouldn't leave when they suddenlt weren't attracted to their partners anymore. What I would've liked to see as an ending is Jason acknowledging he isn't attracted to Julie, then decides to lie to her and stay with her anyways for the good of the child, because he realizes sex isn't that important.  That's a tough decision. That's a great arc for his character who was previously a sex crazed womanizer.

As it stands, it's better than I expected, but not as good as I would have liked. Still, it's a fairly good movie with some great acting. I just wish it's ending wasn't so romantic-comedy generic. What about you guys and gals? Did you see the movie?  What are your thoughts about the premise? DO you think it should have worked or failed? What did you think of the ending?


  1. I haven't seen this movie yet, but it's on my list. So, I can't really agree or disagree with the movie points you made, but I can completely 1000% agree with your take on relationships and attractions.

    In survival mode, a logical female will stay with the more stable male. Only the crazy, drama-ready girl tend to do the back and forth scenario, and the whole chasing assholes thing. I know these women exist. I'm friends with a good number of them, but most women with a balanced head on their shoulders will stick it out with a great guy.

    Attraction is purely physical. Sometimes someone's personality may turn you off their physical attributes, but I don't know many people who can talk themselves into being attracted to someone if it wasn't an initial feeling to begin with.

    I think these sketches are AMAZING!! Your work has really come a long way. Good job, buddy!!! ;-)

  2. Thank you! And glad I'm not the only logical person here! I would still recommend seeing it, it's better than most rom coms.