Part I: Friends with Kids/Jeff Who Lives at Home

It’s tough to surprise an audience these days. Trailers supply most of the plot for upcoming films, and with the internet constantly buzzing and the thirst for information as powerful as a dog’s after chasing the Comcast installer that you’ve been waiting for from 10am to 2pm, the smallest details are ruthlessly bounced from site to site and tossed to the greedy public as if they were the raw meat meant for the ravenous dog that appeared at the beginning of this tortured metaphor.

So I was a little surprised to be surprised by two different movies I saw back to back. Both were “small” films, meaning they didn’t have big special effects or marketing campaigns. I usually find this type of movie to be more of an emotional experience because the scripts have actual dialogue and not just blank pages that say “Insert CGI monster here.”

Friends with Kids was a mini reunion for much of the cast of Bridesmaids. Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, the story revolves around three couples who had been friends for years and what happens to those relationships when the tiny mines called children explode into their lives. The two married couples (Maya Rudolph & Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Wiig & Jon Hamm) are practically a continuation of the characters they played in Bridesmaids, if Wiig’s character had married her fuck buddy Jon Hamm and Rudolph had married the sweet Irish cop. The third couple (Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott) decide to have a baby together as friends in order to beat the inevitable erosion of a marriage by sharing parenting duties but dating other people. Gee, what are the odds that these two will eventually end up together?

Nothing particularly surprising about this movie, given that it was pretty much When Harry Met Sally But Had Kids Before They Knew They Were Meant for Each Other. But there were a few things that caught me off guard, such as why Jennifer Westfeldt would even want to have a child with Adam Scott. His character was kind of weasly and annoying and he has a very weak chin so genetically that could have been a problem (plus Westfeldt’s real life boyfriend is Jon Hamm and that’s a gene pool that should definitely be tapped). The plot points with children seemed contrived and the movie wasn’t particularly enjoyable, mainly because the two friends were the least interesting characters in the film. However, this was a romantic comedy and you knew they would eventually find each other. What did surprise me was the last few lines of the film — when questioning whether or not the two friends would be satisfied with each other, the dialogue went like this:

Him: I guess the only way to find out is to fuck the shit out of you.
Her: Yeah, fuck the shit out of me!

THE END

Now that is just wrong. I am not objecting to the language – shit, I say fuck all the time – but to the sheer laziness of the writing. David Mamet says fuck all the time and his writing is an art form. Is this the best Hollywood can do? Is this what the west coast moguls think we deserve? This was not the American Pie remake aimed at horny teenage boys. This movie was presented as a comedy about adult relationships that was supposed to be smart and funny. I don’t know if that was Jennifer Westfeldt’s original ending or if the studio changed it, but it makes me fear for the future of the movies and the general dumbing down of the moviegoing public. I guess that shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was.

Barf Bag Rating: ZERO BAGS It didn’t make my stomach sick but my heart felt like shit.

Coming on Wednesday: Part II: Jeff Who Lives at Home and its transcendent moment.

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