Friends with Kids
|Friends with Kids|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jennifer Westfeldt|
|Screenplay by||Jennifer Westfeldt|
|Music by||Marcelo Zarvos and The 88|
|Cinematography||William Rexer II|
|Editing by||Tara Timpone|
|Studio||Points West Pictures
Red Granite Pictures
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Budget||Less than $10 million|
Friends with Kids is a 2011 independent American ensemble comedy that is written, produced, directed by and also starring Jennifer Westfeldt. Her partner Jon Hamm also stars in the movie, along with Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Edward Burns and Megan Fox.
Friends with Kids revolves around Jason (an advertising executive) and Julie (a charitable investment advisor), a pair of longtime best friends in their 30s who live in the same building in Manhattan. While not involved romantically, Jason and Julie are close friends with two childless married couples, the placid Alex and Leslie and the sex-obsessed Ben and Missy. During the next four years, after both couples have children, their marriages suffer. Following a chaotic birthday party for Jason at Alex and Leslie's place in Brooklyn, Jason and Julie discuss how it would be better to have children first and only then meet the person that you wanted to marry. After more discussion, they decide to have a child together, despite never having had a romantic relationship, and then to date other people. Although their friends predict disaster, Jason and Julie adjust to their new relationship with baby Joe far better than their friends had imagined.
However, their stable relationship begins to slip when Jason first begins dating Maryjane, a Broadway dancer, and Julie then begins dating Kurt, a divorced construction contractor with children of his own. Maryjane does not want children, and Kurt says that he doesn't want Julie to meet his children until they become serious. The two couples take Joe on a skiing vacation to Vermont with Alex and Leslie, Ben and Missy, and their kids. Upon arrival, the tension between Ben and Missy is obvious, and everything comes to a head during dinner when an intoxicated Ben begins attacking Jason and Julie's unusual relationship. Jason responds with a passionate and articulate defense of his and Julie's situation and his complete trust in her, which catches Julie by surprise, and prompts Ben to storm off.
After Vermont, Ben and Missy separate and divorce. Shortly thereafter, at Julie's birthday (about 18 months after Joe's birth), Jason is surprised to learn that she invited only him to her birthday dinner. Julie tells him that Kurt wants her to meet his children that weekend . . . but that she has realized that she is in love with Jason, who, along with Joe, constitutes her family. A stunned Jason tells Julie that he has never had romantic feelings for her and has asked Maryjane to move in with him, and that she's agreed. Heartbroken, Julie moves out of her Manhattan apartment to Brooklyn, to put some space between herself and Jason. A few months thereafter, Jason and Mary Jane break up over their differing feelings about children, and both Julie and Jason return to dating. Several months later, at a bar with Ben, Jason confides that he does have feelings for Julie, but that their messy split makes acting on such feelings impossible. Ben disagrees, noting the differences between his and Missy's sex-based relationship and Jason and Julie's long-lasting friendship.
Shortly before Julie's next birthday, while dropping a 2-1/2-year-old Joe off at Julie's house, Jason presents her with an early birthday present: a photo book of the three of them, consistent with Julie's prior statement that Jason and Joe were her family. Jason tells Julie that he's been in love with her for years, although he never realized it until now. Jason's sudden shift makes Julie emotional and uncomfortable, but eventually they end up in bed together for the first time (other than Joe's conception).
- Adam Scott as Jason
- Jennifer Westfeldt as Julie
- Kristen Wiig as Missy
- Jon Hamm as Ben
- Maya Rudolph as Leslie
- Chris O'Dowd as Alex
- Edward Burns as Kurt
- Megan Fox as Mary Jane
- Lee Bryant as Elaine Keller, Julie's mother
- Kelly Bishop as Mary Fryman, Jason's mother
- Cotter Smith as Phil Fryman, Jason's father
Friends with Kids is directed, written, produced and stars Jennifer Westfeldt. This is her directorial debut. Her partner, actor Jon Hamm, also agreed to play a supporting part and help produce her feature film. The idea for Friends With Kids had been floating around after Westfeldt and Hamm noticed that friends were starting to have families and 'all but disappearing from their lives.' Cast member Adam Scott admitted that the couple's suspicion was not baseless, as he and his wife had become “the worst friends to Jen and Jon because we were so busy” after getting married and having children. She was encouraged to move forward with her idea after an informal reading of the screenplay took place at her and Hamm's home in late 2010.
This film is notable for reuniting four cast members from the recent romantic-comedy hit Bridesmaids -- Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd and Jon Hamm.
It was always planned that Hamm would star in the movie, but in a role where he would not be paired-up with his real-life partner. However, this left only a few months open between when Hamm finished doing the fourth season of Mad Men and would resume for a fifth to get Friends with Kids off the ground and ready to shoot. According to one of the producers, resources for the production were easy to find. "The impossible algorithm is to line up the cast, the calendar and the cash in such a way that you get to make the movie,” said co-producer Joshua Astrachan. "It just never is that easy to put an independent film together."
Principal photography lasted for four weeks, beginning in New York during December 2010 and carrying out into early 2011. With a budget of less than US$10 million, Friends with Kids was made by Red Granite Pictures, Points West Pictures, and Locomotive. Red Granite Pictures led by Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland also fully financed the film and distributed it internationally through Red Granite's distribution arm led by Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri.
It was released in the United States and Canada on March 9, 2012, Sweden on June 1, 2012, and Australia on June 7, 2012.
Reviews of the film were mixed to positive. It has received a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 134 reviews and an average rating of 6.5/10. It also has a score of 55 on Metacritic based on 34 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
- Itzkoff, Dave (March 5, 2011). "Filming Couples in Motion While Being One Themselves". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
- "Friends with Kids (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- Kit, Boyrs (October 18, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Megan Fox Joins Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig in 'Friends With Kids'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- Wieselman, Jarett (December 8, 2010). "The benefits of being 'Friends' with Megan Fox". New York Post. Paul Carlucci. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- "Cannes Video: Hamm and Westfeldt Talk Friends with Kids". indieWIRE. Snagfilms. May 16, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 3011.
- Brady, Buzz (February 20, 2011). "Megan Fox and John Hamm begin filming ‘Friends With Kids’- SEE VIDEO". Irish Central. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- Lambert, Christine (2011), "Friends with Kids premiere photos", DigitalHit.com, retrieved 2012-01-02
- "Lion's Gate Press Release". Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "Friends With Kids (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Friends with Kids". Metacritic. Retrieved April 21, 2012.