Friends With Kids: A Review

 Watched on?: Netflix

When?: Last Friday night

Wearing?: My pajamas

Eating?: Chocolate and half a cupcake (split with a friend. You know I would never eat merely half a cup cake if I had access to the whole thing, right?)friends-with-kids

Verdict?: Meh

**WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD**

This is one of those cases when a funny trailer and numerous great reviews led me to think I might love the hell out of this movie. And certainly there were parts of it I found funny. However the main focus of the plot on a male/female friendship left me feeling frustrated.

Jason and Julie are best friends who decide to have a baby together while bypassing all the mess of a romantic relationship. There’s a lot of logic in their plan. They are great friends, and will remain great friends if they don’t become romantically involved, and they will each dedicate 50% of their time to raising the kid in question, freeing up the other 50% of the time for them to continue their search for ‘the one’. Makes sense, right? I thought so. But the minute they mention this plan to their other couple/parent friends, those friends immediately trash this idea, despite the fact all these people seem miserable in their own relationships. They push Jason and Julie to just ‘get together’. Why? Is there only one acceptable way to have and raise a child? Must every couple follow the same path?

WHY NOT THIS GUY? THIS ONE JULIE!

WHY NOT THIS GUY? THIS ONE JULIE!

This movie sure seemed to be saying so. Because you know where this is going, right? Jason and Julie go forward with their plan. Julie gives birth to Joe and everything is going swimmingly until Julie decides, kinda out of the blue, that she is in love with Jason, because he knows her better than anyone and says some nice things about her on New Year’s Eve (while she’s on a date with a REALLY TERRIFIC HOT GUY NAMED KURT WHO SHE SHOULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH BY THE WAY. Edward Burns, I always have thought you were hot, and you deserved better than this). Julie decides to tell Jason of her feelings, on her birthday, and he says no. Nup. I don’t feel the same way at all. ON HER BIRTHDAY (can I reiterate she should have stuck with the mature, sexy guy who treated her son like gold?). It takes a while for Jason to understand he shares Julie’s feelings, because he’s a shallow man-boy who is focussed on screwing a chick much hotter than Julie who is so up for it she makes his penis cry in a kind of joy-pain brought on by overuse. It’s Megan Fox, ya’ll, so maybe I can forgive this immaturity. But Jason soon realises Mary Jane (Fox) isn’t maternal or interested in kids at all (he didn’t seem to care so much BEFORE he got into her pants. She was very obviously not interested in Jason’s son from the time they met, but this was ignored so he could experience the joy-pain of penis overuse first). So he sees no future with this hideous non-maternal creature who suddenly appears ugly to him, I guess. Because she’s more interested in her career than being a mother. DEMON WOMAN!!

Hot baby hater is on the money here

Hot baby hater has read the script of this movie

So, hot girlfriend’s heinous lack of maternal instinct and Joe’s pleas that he wants his mummy and daddy to sleep together (although Joe has never known them to live under the one roof, and he’s maybe 3 years old, he knows how to parent trap the shit out of these two by genetic coding or something), make Jason see the light. He’s supposed to be with Julie (one wonders if he would ever have come to this conclusion if hot baby-hater had actually been a children loving earth mother). Julie is understandably wary, what with Jason having callously broken her heart on her birthday because he wanted to bang the hot baby-hating monster Megan Fox instead of being with her. But her heart strings  were tugged by Joe’s intrinsic understanding that there is something wrong with a mummy and daddy not living together (quite a prodigy, that Joe). Jason uses this to push Julie into giving him another chance to prove he loves her, so they can all be together. One small, happy, very nuclear, family. Never mind that he broke her heart in the past. HE decides that he deserves a second chance and as a mere woman Julie must defer to him! It’s for the good of their offspring, after all. JOE CANNOT SURVIVE THIS DISTANCE BETWEEN JULIE AND JASON. Because just like breast, heteronormative nuclear families are best.

Then they have sex I guess and we’re all supposed to accept the fact that she chose the douche-bag Jason over hot, emotionally mature Kurt (nah I’m still not over that), and that this will somehow fulfill all her wildest romantic dreams. Colour me cynical.  

So yes, I was left feeling frustrated by this flick. The concept was great—two friends having a baby together in a non-traditional way juxtaposed against the portraits of their more traditional heteronormative parent friends and their relationships, both good and bad. This was a nice opportunity to explore non-traditional parenting arrangements that instead descended into a rather pushy endorsement of the conventional two parent family. A baby MUST be borne from romantic love or you risk being seen as weird. Or worse, you risk making other conventional couples feel uncomfortable and forcing them to question their own relationships. Or much, much worse, you ruin poor little Joe’s life because you aren’t fucking each other (it’s creepy that Joe’s happiness is so tightly pinned to his father’s ability to give his mother an orgasm).

I was left feeling like Jason and Julie would have been better off remaining friends, as I had no confidence they weren’t going to end up with that messy divorce they tried to avoid in the first place. So Friends With Kids didn’t work as a rom com for me, and it didn’t work as social commentary. It was all too middle of the road and safe to be interesting.

Ed Burns looking casually hot. As he does.

Ed Burns looking casually hot. As he does.

 

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