Jason (Scott) and his best friend Julie (Westfeldt) are a bit horrified when their coupled pals Leslie and Alex (Rudolph and O'Dowd) and Ben and Missy (Hamm and Wiig) have children. So they decide to have a child without the baggage of a relationship, freeing them to find the right person once they're already single parents. Their baby son is adorable, and raising him brings them closer as friends while allowing them to pursue romances with the hot Mary Jane (Fox) and the sexy Kurt (Burns). But no one else is buying it.
Yes, the script kind of wimps out on its own premise, allowing more traditional values to take over. But along the way, there are astute, knowing scenes that challenge the status quo, finding humour and resonance in a variety of friendships and romantic liaisons. It's fairly impossible not to see yourself somewhere in here, as the superb collection of complex characters circle around each other. And even if the plot is deeply predictable, the script is tricky enough to keep us engaged.
At the centre, Scott and Westfeldt have terrific chemistry as a close friends who seem so much more balanced, honest and happy than everyone else, until the script pushes them in another direction. Fox gives her best performance yet (which perhaps isn't saying much) as a lively young women who simply can't copy with baby poo. While Rudolph steals every scene as an uproariously frazzled mum. By contrast, Hamm's more bitterly angry character gives the film some intriguing layers of jagged darkness.
Underneath a constant stream of raucous comedy and sharp dialog, this film makes some serious comments about anyone who's ever said, "Having children won't change us at all." Westfeldt creates some wonderfully chaotic scenes of kid-induced carnage while also observing the deep irony of this stage of life.
As one character asks, "How is it possible to love this strange creature more than the person you chose over everyone else?"
Run time: 107 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th March 2012
Box Office USA: $7.3M
Box Office Worldwide: $12.2M
Distributed by: Roadside Attractions
Production compaines: Locomotive
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 92 Rotten: 46
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
Director: Jennifer Westfeldt
Screenwriter: Jennifer Westfeldt
Starring: Kristen Wiig as Missy, Jon Hamm as Ben, Jennifer Westfeldt as Julie Keller, Megan Fox as Mary Jane, Chris O'Dowd as Alex, Maya Rudolph as Leslie, Edward Burns as Kurt, Adam Scott as Jason, Lee Bryant as Elaine Keller, Kelly Bishop as Marcy Fryman, Cotter Smith as Phil Fryman