Friends With Kids

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Megan Fox, Edward Burns. Romantic comedy. Written & directed by Jennifer Westfeldt.

FILM SYNOPSIS: After viewing the life changes babies have brought to their acquaintances, two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships.

PREVIEW REVIEW: “Organized religion is full of s---,” declares the male lead, who seems to be expressing the sensibilities of his entire circle of Manhattan-living, upwardly mobile, 30-something pals. Well, you can imagine how well that line went over with this Jesus-friendly critic. I had already sat through an hour or more of comedy, based on genitalia, and countless characters jumping in the sack on the first date and every character frequently proving they were unable to express frustration without the use of the f- or s-words, which have become the new “nuts” and “darn it.” Now, I had to deal with these “with-it” folks sending the message that church and an organized belief in God wasn’t even for the birds.

Now, I admit the film’s irreverence has affected my views. To be fair, I found that while the characters were completely devoid of a sense of spirituality, the script by lead actress Jennifer Westfeldt served to address the subject of how children change one’s perspective. The writer may even be mocking her generation, presenting a message that people never really find love or happiness until they are willing to begin to put others first. As I left the theater, thinking on how the male lead had changed his views on a lasting relationship, I had hoped that his agnosticism would also be reexamined with time and maturity.

Friends With Kids reminded me of an elongated, uncensored episode of the late NBC series Friends. The expression “Oh my God” is uttered nearly as often as on a complete season of that “I’ll be there for you” TV series. As with that television show, little, if any, attention is given to the professions of the well-off New York protagonists. And much like the formulaic sitcom, the wine-laced birthday dinners or Bloody-Mary-fueled brunches generally end in a comic take on life’s frustrations, with doors slamming followed by a mild gag.

I suppose if the crassness of the buddy-banter isn’t offensive to the moviegoer, and if the writer’s tendency to prove that this “with-it” group wouldn’t befriend a Bush supporter or a Sunday-morning pew sitter doesn’t bother conservatives or religious folk, the film may be considered somewhat diverting. But since the material lacks any real poignancy or freshness, I doubt it will be as lasting for secularists as, say, The Big Chill.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Roadside Attractions

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several crude sexual conversations.

Obscene Language: Over 30 obscenities, mostly the f- and s-words.

Profanity: Jesus’ name is taken in vain at least four times, once from the lead who also couples our Lord’s name with an obscenity; the expression “Oh my God” is uttered at least 17 times, this being the only reference to the Creator, as the lead male character states in dogmatic outcry that organized religion is phony.

Violence: Several arguments, but no hitting.

Sex: A few sexual encounters that fade out before becoming overly graphic; several sexual conversations.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: A great deal of drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Yuppies

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