directed by Jennifer Westfeldt
After watching Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids about two weeks ago, I was looking forwarding to forgetting the film the way you forget some terrible nights out on the town, a tragic memory that recedes into the sweet oblivion where all uncomfortable recollections go to die. But then I made the mistake of reading a few reviews of this film from so called professionals, hardly believing eyes as I read glowing review after glowing review. What was happening? Had I gone mad? Did we watch the same film? The answer to these questions was yes, we had watched the same film, but it wasn’t me who had gone mad. For shame, you critics out there for doling out praise to an undeserving recipient. Westfeldt was definitely trying to tell the story of partnerships, marriages (good, bad and unconventional), friendships, and how these relationships are strained or forged when little ones enter the fray. The most significant contributor to this film’s shortcoming (for me) was in the “show, don’t tell” argument championed by every Writing 101 teacher in existence. Too much was simply declared by the film’s characters at convenient times, which is always a tragedy when you have such strong talent working together. And that may be the biggest contributing factor to these positive reviews, the caliber of newer talent trying admirably to make it all work. Yes, Kristen Wiig is a deservedly hot talent right now, as is Jon Hamm (still in his Mad Men revelry). Even Adam Scott (finally getting some serious street cred. I have loved you for years!) finds a way to humanize a role that seems almost an “insert face here” kind of part. The film had potential, and what’s so deflating about it was that Westfeldt’s script didn’t achieve anything, good or bad. It was like a filmic bowl of melted ice cream, repellent in its gelatinous afterglow, yet you can still see in the sticky glop the delicious treat it could have been if you had gotten to it before. Before what, you may ask? Well, I don’t know. Before it got all gooey and unrecognizable. Before it dissolved from an appetizing treat for the soul into a mess that you just want to slop down the drain. It sounds harsh, and I feel badly about it, but there was just too much talent in the room for these kinds of mistakes to be made.