Movie review: Friends with Kids

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From the March 8, 2012 edition

The ensemble comedy “Friends with Kids” has a lot that can go right and a lot that can go wrong.

Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt has reassembled half the cast of “Bridesmaids,” but she also casts herself in the lead.

She’s telling a story that feels like the setup for a bad sitcom, but she actually manages to land a heartfelt, smart and funny film.

Impossibly platonic New York friends Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Adam Scott) have hit that stage in life where all of their friends are having kids.

They’ve seen the strain parenthood has taken on their friends’ relationships, so they hatch a brilliant/stupid plan. They’ll have a child together and just stay friends.

The chatty circle of New York friends bit could have been grating, but when those friends are “Bridesmaids” alums Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd (the Irish cop), you’ve got a good start.

Some may rightly question Westfeldt in the lead, but she does her own material justice. Scott (of great TV comedies “Parks & Recreation” and “Party Down”) is also solid.

It is essentially “When Harry Met Sally” if they had a baby, but Westfeldt crafts great characters and scenarios that don’t feel just like gags.

I found it warm, sweet and surprisingly moving. And no kids for me.