Friends with Kids – Platonic parents deliver a rom-com with a twist

Friends with Kids reunites Bridesmaids cast members Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jon Hamm and Chris O’Dowd for another way-we-live-now ensemble comedy and there’s a similar mix of hilarity and insight on offer, though with less of the earlier film’s raunchiness or grossness.

Written, directed by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt, the movie shows what happens to a tight-knit circle of New Yorkers when they start having children. Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Adam Scott) are the last two singles in the group and when they see what parenthood does to their married friends’ relationships they decide to raise a child together without becoming romantically involved. The notion dismays couples Ben (Hamm) and Missy (Wiig) and Leslie (Rudolph) and Alex (O’Dowd), but following the birth of baby Joe, all goes well for the pair until Jason begins dating the foxy Mary Jane (a well cast Megan Fox) and Julie realises she has feelings for him after all.

Westfeldt, in real life the longtime partner of Mad Man star Hamm, gave a twist to rom-com convention a decade ago with Kissing Jessica Stein, in which she played a disillusioned straight woman who starts dating another woman. Friends with Kids begins by taking a similarly sideways approach to the genre, and if its leads ultimately conform to type, there’s enough messiness, heartbreak and hurt around them to stop the movie becoming cosily bland.

On general release from Friday 29th June.

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