If you go into ‘Friends with Kids’ expecting to see a comedy in the vein of ‘Bridesmaids‘ (which is what the ads make it out to be), you’ll probably be disappointed. ‘Friends with Kids’ is actually a dramatic romantic comedy (or a “drom-com,” if you will) grounded in reality, not some fairytale perfectly wrapped with a pink ribbon like the majority of the chick flicks out there.
Both in their late-30s, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (writer and director Jennifer Westfeldt) are best friends. They live in the same Manhattan high-rise and talk freely about everything personal. They’re so close that their two best friend couples (Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, and Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm) always tell them that they should just date and get it over with. Unfortunately, neither of them is attracted to the other.
As their friends begin having babies, Jason and Julie see the stress and strain that kids put on a marriage and come to the conclusion that, “Parenthood ruins everything.” Having children will kill the romance in a relationship. This conversation expands over a few days and the two concoct a wild idea. As purely platonic friends, they’ll have a baby together so that they can each dedicate 50% of their time to making a relationship with another person work, while the other 50% of the time is spent raising their child. While they see this as a fantastic idea, their friends can only see it resulting in failure.
After having baby Joe, things are fabulous at first. The other couples are jealous at how well Jason and Julie make their strange arrangement work, how happy they are and how nice they are to one another. But as Julie watches how good Jason is with their kid and how nice he is to her, she begins to develop feelings for him. Being an ignorant man, he’s clueless to her emotions and continues in his philandering ways. That is, until he meets game-changing M.J. (Megan Fox). Julie can hardly stand to see Jason settling down with another woman, so she finds a good man on her own, Curt (Edward Burns), whom she completely falls for. As Jason watches Curt sweep Julie off her feet and treat little Joe like his own child, he becomes jealous and their supposedly foolproof plan is put to the test.
‘Friends with Kids’ is one of the few romance films that men can enjoy as much as women. You don’t have to be a parent to appreciate it, but I’m sure that having kids and having gone through many of these scenarios will only make the film more entertaining. It’s realistic, never cheesy nor contrived, and full of great comedy. ‘Friends with Kids’ is definitely one of the best romantic comedies out there.