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Jason and Julie (Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt) are single thirty-something Manhattanites. They’ve been best friends since college, they live in the same building, trust each other implicitly – and aren’t remotely attracted to each other.
As the film opens, they meet at a chic downtown restaurant for a dinner with their closest friends, two married couples: Leslie and Alex (Maya Rudolph and Chris O’ Dowd), funny and frank — and Ben and Missy (Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig), such a sexy pair that they are in fact having a quickie in the restaurant bathroom when Julie and Jason arrive.
Jason notices the behavior of some unruly children being seated at the table next to them – and he and Julie riff on how inappropriate it is to bring kids to such a sophisticated place. But their comic rant is cut short when Leslie suddenly blurts out that she’s pregnant.
Mortified, Julie and Jason turn on a dime and congratulate their friends wholeheartedly – and earnestly: it’s the first of their close friends to take the plunge. Leslie and Alex reassure them that they would never bring their kids to a fancy restaurant – they’re gonna be cool parents, and nothing is going to change.
Fast forward to four years later – and everything has changed.
Leslie and Alex have two kids, Missy and Ben have a newborn – and Jason and Julie, still single and childless, find themselves taking a long expensive cab ride to Alex and Leslie’s apartment in Brooklyn – on Jason’s birthday. They have brought the wine, the food, the cake, Julie has brought the only birthday gift for Jason – and when they arrive, the mood is not remotely festive. Their friends are sniping at each other, harried and utterly consumed by the demands of parenting.
On their way home from what proves to be a funny, entirely chaotic and thoroughly unsatisfying birthday celebration, Julie and Jason end up in a bar, wondering what’s happened to their friends – who now seem overwhelmed, exhausted, angry, humorless – altogether unfamiliar.
Is this what happens when you have kids? Julie and Jason riff on whether you can maintain true romance in your life – and also have children. Jason offhandedly suggests that maybe they should have a kid together and beat the system – be with their kid half the time, and pursue unfettered, uncomplicated romance the other half.
It’s a funny joke… or is it?
Julie and Jason have their baby – Joe – and all is well. They are the most competent, functional, loving pair of unmarried, unattached parents one could hope to see (much to their friends’ chagrin), and they both start to date. Jason meets Maryjane (Megan Fox), a lithe Broadway dancer who is Jason’s physical ideal and Leslie introduces Julie to Kurt (Edward Burns), dashing, tall, impossibly kind – and recently divorced, with two kids of his own.
Have Julie and Jason beat the system?
Nothing proves as simple as they’d hoped. Their friends – who can’t help feeling they are part of the system Julie and Jason have set out to “beat” – are threatened by their friends’ choice and how well it seems to be working. And Julie, even as she gets more and more deeply involved with Kurt, finds herself falling hard for Jason – despite the fact that she’s thought of him as a brother for nearly two decades.
Having kids proves to be the crucible through which all of these friends’ lives are forever changed – in sweeping and surprising ways. There is great comedy and enormous feeling in this story about discovering the love of your life in the way you were least expecting.
‘Friends With Kids’ is set for major release in cinemas around the USA on March 9.