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Let’s Rush To Judgment: ‘Friends With Kids’

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
January 19, 2012

Rarely has anyone assembled a cast more perfectly pitched to … well, me, than Jennifer Westfeldt, the writer and director of Friends With Kids.

Let’s see: other than Westfeldt herself, there’s Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm and Adam Scott.

Really? Why not just end it with, “And starring Kyle Chandler as the local football coach!”?

Westfeldt’s best-known credit is likely the 2001 film Kissing Jessica Stein, for which she co-wrote the screenplay, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. She comes by her indie film credentials entirely honestly. Since then, she’s done lots of television, including the flop parenting series Notes From The Underbelly, in which she was actually pretty good, though the show was pretty awful. But if she looks familiar, you also may have seen her because — it must be said — she has her picture taken a great deal, because she’s Jon Hamm’s long-term … girlfriend, or partner, or co-human, or whatever we say about people who seem more married than many married people. (I heard him give an absolutely lovely speech at the Television Critics Association awards in which he lovingly saluted the way she’s put up with the craziness that’s resulted from his sex-symbol-splosion.)

But this film, Friends With Kids, opening March 9, gives her undoubtedly the best shot at big exposure that she’s ever had. Four of her five primary co-stars in the array of three couples (Wiig, Rudolph, O’Dowd and Hamm) were in Bridesmaids, which you might have heard made some money last year. The other one, Scott, is currently the romantic lead in the best comedy on television, Parks & Recreation.

It’s everybody who’s super-likable, all in one place. Best-case scenario, it comes out like a photographic negative of New Year’s Eve, where it’s delightful and funny instead of completely and utterly toxic. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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