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Friends with Kids

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Although long a screenwriter (Kissing Jessica Stein) and an actress (TV’s Notes from the Underbelly and 24), Westfeldt makes her directorial debut with this romantic comedy that co-stars four members of the Bridesmaids cast and opens Friday.

She stars as Julie, best buds to Jason (Adam Scott, TV’s Parks and Recreation). Their relationship is pure When Harry Met Sally ..., watching one another date other people when it’s so obvious they’re perfect for one another — it just takes them 100 minutes, give or take, to realize that. They even call each other at insane hours over trivial stuff; Jason answers the phone at 4 a.m. to hear Julie ask without introduction or context, “Death by shark or alligator?”

What separated Sally from sitcom setup was sharp writing, which Friends does not have. It belabors its non-point by having Julie and Jason agree to have a baby together, but not be committed to one another in any way. As if. At least he’s there at delivery: “Your vagina looks like a jellyfish!”

Their title pals whose offspring inspired Julie and Jason’s semen-bonded deal play to the stereotype of the sexless, miserable parents whose love was destroyed by spawning. Talented people like Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd seem like they’re doing Westfeldt a favor ... and they certainly are, by tricking moviegoers into thinking the film will be made funny/amusing/credible — take your pick — by their presence.

It’s not. A typical gag has Jason scare off a girlfriend (Megan Fox, losing the least when it’s all said and done) by being covered in poo, face included, while changing his son’s diaper. Has Westfeldt even seen a diaper change?  

Naturally, Friends with Kids ends up exactly how you think it will, with one slight twist: Jason says, “Let me fuck the shit out of you” to convince Julie of his true feelings. She agrees. Isn’t it romantic? —Rod Lott

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