Friends with Kids

   Director: Jennifer Westfeldt, Roadshow Films, Rated MA, 107 mins

Relationships revolving around friends and kids are at the centre of this romantic comedy from actress, writer and first time director Jennifer Westfeldt in which she also stars as Julie Keller, one of six friends who meet regularly including married couples Ben (Mad Men star Jon Hamm) and Missy (Bridesmaids’ Kristen Wiig), Alex (Chris O’Dowd-Gulliver’s Travels) and Leslie (Bridesmaids’ Maya Rudolph) as well as platonic friend Jason (Adam Scott-Our Idiot Brother who resembles Tom Cruise).
Friends with Kids
   A few years later, with both couples having children Julie decides it’s time for her to have a child before settling down with Mr. Right, devising a plan with Jason (who lives in the same New York apartment block) to have a baby together that would involve each of them taking turns to look after the toddler while at the same time allowing each to date other people.
   All this comes as a huge surprise to their friends especially to struggling couple Ben and Missy whose marital troubles are exposed during a drunken dinner scene that not only sees Ben and Jason engage in a heated exchange but also Ben separating from Missy.
   As Julie later finds out not everything goes according to plan after she meets Kurt (Edward Burns-Man on the Ledge) and Jason falls for Mary Jane (Transformers’ Megan Fox).
   In many respects Westfeldt’s chick flick appears to dwell too much on babies and kids besides showing the difficulties experienced by couples in dealing with children.
   Despite assembling a fine cast (Dowd, Hamm, Rudolph and Wiig) it is a pity that their true talents have been underutilised by having them to play such weak characters.    
   Putting aside the pleasing performances of both Scott and Westfeldt in their lead roles, it is a matter of conjecture as to whether the type of relationship envisaged by Westfeldt actually allows couples to achieve all three objectives mentioned on the movie poster –love, happiness and kids.
   From an entertainment point of view Friends with Kids may please many female movie goers while others may feel somewhat let down.

VIC'S VERDICT:         2 Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

Dr Seuss’s The Lorax

   Release Date July 2012
   Directors: Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda, Universal Pictures, Rated G, 86 mins

If ever there was an animated movie made for children it is the adaptation of one of the renowned Dr Seuss’ books The Lorax whose main theme relates to the environment.
Dr Seuss’s The Lorax
   A new DVD being released from animation directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda tells the story of 12 year old Ted (New Year’s Eve Zac Efron) wanting to win the affection of his dream girl Audrey (played by singer Taylor Swift) whose greatest wish is to see a real tree.
   But Ted must first discover the story of the Lorax, a grumpy yet charming orange creature (voiced by Solitary Man’s Danny DeVito) who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler (Hangover’s Ed Helms).
   Having seen the desolated wasteland caused by the anti-environmentalist Once-ler, Ted is determined to restore the once beautiful land including the return of the truffula trees-and the Lorax.
   This latest Dr Seuss adaptation on DVD is one that most children (and some adults) will enjoy especially DeVito’s characterisation of the Lorax.

VIC'S VERDICT:         3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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