Friends with Kids

  • Review Date: March 9, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Mature relationship dramedy heartfelt, but also cliched.
  • Review Date: March 9, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Somewhat obscured by the usual romcom dance -- girl likes guy, guy loses girl -- that can sometimes mislead younger viewers into thinking that every romance worth having requires a lot of drama is the message that wonderful relationships can come from deep and abiding friendships. Also, it's nice to be able to lean on our friends for help, and kids don't need to damage friendships -- they just change the tenor of it.

Positive role models

Julie and Jason are both sweet and caring friends, as well as (mostly) communicative and supportive. They don't always behave in exemplary fashion (one-night stands, crass comments, etc.), but at heart they're good people. Their friends are, too, even if they get lost amid the chaos of relationship and family drama and act out in sometimes hurtful ways.

Violence

Loud arguments sometimes take place in public, humiliating many of the people involved.

Sex

More talk than action, but plenty of talk, including suggestive banter, graphic language ("blow job," "vagina," "jerked off") and frank discussion of sexual acts/positions/desires. Brief glimpse of porn footage (nothing overly explicit). Friends sleep together in a scene that starts out awkward but becomes more tender (no graphic nudity). Other scenes show kissing/making out that (presumably) leads to sex. Loud moaning is heard. References ot masturbation. Lingerie-clad women are seen.

Language

Frequent but not constant use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "douchebag," "d--k," "damn," "Jesus" (as an exclamation) and more.

Consumerism

Labels/brands seen include Budweiser, Stella Artois, Kolcraft, Mercedes, Apple (iPhones and laptops), Zipcar, Magnolia Bakery, and more. Jason works in beer sales.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Plenty of drinking by adults, mostly social in nature (at restaurants, dinners, bars, etc.) but sometimes to excess. One character in particular is suggested to be especially fond of/dependent on her wine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Friends with Kids is a dramedy about adult relationships and having and raising children -- themes that may not particularly appeal to younger viewers, despite a cast filled with Bridesmaids veterans like Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Jon Hamm. Characters frankly assess the challenges of child-rearing, making the movie honest to a degree that young kids won't probably be able to process or understand with nuance. There are also open, graphic discussions about sex (what it's like pre- and post-baby, what happens to the body and libido, etc.), and a few scenes that show sex/implied sex (no sensitive nudity). Marriages are depicted in various stages of tension and discord; relationships are fuzzy and confusing. Characters swear frequently and colorfully ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) and do plenty of social/a bit more than social drinking.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are longtime best friends who are the last in their circle to have kids. And they don't like what they see: The kids are adorable, the lifestyle full of love and life. But the parents? They're hanging on by a thread, their marriages either icy or downright hostile. Is this what having children does to relationships? Perhaps, then, it would be better for them if they had kids without being involved with each other. Then they could have the joys of parenting, but none of the boredom and tension that happen after. And since they like each other a lot, as friends, why not have a baby with each other and then try to have separate dating lives after? But their plan isn't as foolproof as they think it is.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Let's start by saying that FRIENDS WITH KIDS is often funny and heartfelt, the kind of movie you won't necessarily regret paying for at the multiplex. Better this than, say, the quasi-edgy films that don't say much at all, or the hyper-violent ones that aim simply to dish out a body count. But it's also a disappointment. The premise is interesting but not entirely easy to buy: How can two friends decide that it's simpler to make a baby so they can avoid the fallout that happens between couples post-pregnancy and not realize that there are bound to be issues here, too? One character alludes to this, but the issues are treated as if they're not obvious. For instance, Jason and Julie seem to think it'll be quite simple to go back to dating once the baby's born and soon after the pregnancy weight is shed. On what planet? And must every relationship follow the same tired old road? (There's no need to call a spoiler when we all know this is how it unwinds.) Girl and guy don't think they like each other; girl likes guy after all (because he is, of course, adorable); guy thinks girl isn't his type; girl leaves guy; guy sees the light.

There are also some pretty unimaginative knocks on parenting: how it tries marriages, how it's so hard. Couples are too tired for sex; they argue about chores. This is nothing new. Plus, how is it possible that the most underwritten characters are the ones inhabited by Westfeldt's real-life beau, Jon Hamm, and one of the funniest comediennes around, Kristen Wiig? And no offense to writer-director Westfeldt, whose sharp wit is evident in so much of the movie's dialogue, but When Harry Met Sally called, and it wants its ending back. The winning speech, the fake hesitation (though perhaps not the sexualized banter) -- it's been done before. Friends with Kids is an entertaining movie. At times, it's even wise. Had it been unburdened by most of its romcom cliches, it could've been brilliant.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Friends with Kids' messages about relationships. What is it saying about single life? Married life? How accurate do you think it is? Do movies give us a realistic portrait of relationships in general?

  • Why do movies see parenting as rife for comedic material? Do they exaggerate it in any way? Do you think the characters in this movie are good parents? Why or why not?

  • Do Jason and Julie's reasons to have a baby make sense? Or are they the kind that only seem to come up in movies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 9, 2012
DVD release date:July 17, 2012
Cast:Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Maya Rudolph
Director:Jennifer Westfeldt
Studio:Roadside Attractions
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content and language

This review of Friends with Kids was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 March 16, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Highly recommend to teens and adults.

Saw it today very good but some language and sex good for mature teens.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymovie_lover_ May 17, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Funny and entertaining

Watched this and thought it was fine for my age group. I'll admit there is a lot of sexual talk, but it wasn't over the top. There was drinking and some swearing, nothing major. Overall found it very entertaining and funny.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byPeopleschamp1995 August 15, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Very bad

Terrible movie
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism

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