Friends with Kids (2011)
Audio Commentary-Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm and William Rexer
Outtakes-Ad libs and Bloopers (7.05)
Featurette-Making Of-Making Friends With Kids (7.46)
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jennifer Westfeldt|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† Writer, producer, director, actor Jennifer Westfeldt became instantly famous, in independent circles anyway, with her sprightly 2001 Manhattan comedy Kissing Jessica Stein. That earned her the tag of the "female Woody Allen" which is perhaps inevitable when you are writing relationship comedies about a neurotic Manhattanites. Nowadays she is perhaps more famous for being "Mrs Jon Hamm" and perhaps it was the extra kudos of working with the Mad Men star that helped gather an elite cast of comedy talent to this project.
†††† In fact, the film brought together a number of performers who had recently appeared in Bridesmaids including Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd and Jon Hamm. No doubt looking at the cast on the box at the video store may suggest to some that this is a raucous comedy suitable for henís nights. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a well scripted often surprising comedy/drama about the nature of relationships when kids come along.
†††† At a typical Soho restaurant three couples, good friends, come together. Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) have been friends since the beginning of time. They are best buddies and share their joys and fears. Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig) are a couple still flush with desire. They are late to the table having disappeared into the restaurant bathrooms for a quickie! Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O'Dowd) are a comfortable loving couple. None of them have children - yet. Looking over a nearby table where some kids are misbehaving Julie and Jason remark at the insensitivity of parents bringing young children to a flash restaurant. That's when Leslie and Alex dropped their bombshell - they are going to have a baby.
†††† Flash forward four years later and even Ben and Missy have a kid. At a chaotic birthday party for Jason the parents take digs at each other. Clearly Ben and Missy are no longer having regular sex. The laid-back quality of Alex, so charming as a couple, is now seen as laziness and parental avoidance by Leslie. Jason and Julie walk out of the birthday party convinced that their friends have got it all wrong. Instead of finding the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, and then destroying that happiness with kids, why not do it the other way round? Have the kid first and then meet the person that you want to spend your life with.
†††† From that somewhat daffy premise the movie emerges. The best friends decide to have a child that they will share whilst each of them looks for the perfect mate. And when Jason, forever accused of being shallow with his relationships, meets young dancer, singer Mary Jane (Megan Fox) and Julie starts dating the ruggedly handsome and successful Kurt (Edward Burns) their plan appears complete. Even their friends, struggling with their relationships, admit that what seemed like a bad idea at the start appears to be paying off stop
†††† Of course, nothing ever works out that easily. The problem, of course, is the complexity of their feelings for each other. One will become obsessed with the other, convinced that they are in love causing the other to back off. It is this ebb and flow, accompanied by some sharp dialogue, that makes for an entertaining movie.
†††† It is an often witty and urbane film where the cast relish the chance to work together as an ensemble and play off against each other. The cast are experienced comedy players although it must be said that the performances are more informed by drama than comedy, giving the film a little extra bite. The movies only questionable decision was whether the otherwise charming and entertaining Jennifer Westfeldt should have cast herself as the lead or stayed behind the camera as director.
†††† Friends with Kids was shot on high-definition digital video using the Arri Alexa camera. It is presented on DVD at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is consistent with the original cinema aspect ratio. It is 16◊9 enhanced.
†††† The film looks clear and sharp throughout.
†††† The flesh tones are accurate.
†††† The colours are clear without evidence of bleeding. There are no technical problems with the transfer. New York has been beautifully presented by cinematographer William Rexer.
††††There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired.
†††† Friends with Kids features a few audio tracks. All are Dolby Digital. One is the prime 5.1 surround track running at 448 Kb/s. Another is a 2.0 track running at 192 Kb/s. There is also a descriptive audio track and a commentary track both of which run at 2.0/ 224 Kb/s.
†††† The sound is good throughout. The dialogue is generally clear and easy to understand although Jennifer Westfeldt has a somewhat stylised drawl which can at times make understanding a little difficult.
†††† There is not a lot for the surround sound track to do however it does give a pleasing ambience to the film. The sub-woofer is used only sparingly.
†††† As well as the musical score the soundtrack is peppered with music including tracks by Regina Spector and Wilco.
††††There are no technical problems with the sound transfer.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† This DVD contains one decent extra and a couple of fillers.
†††† Director Jennifer Westfeldt, actor and co-producer Jon Hamm and cinematographer William Rexer come together to discuss the making of the film. Jennifer Westfeldt is a definite motormouth and this commentary track sometimes moves at the speed of sound. And then stops... as they get caught up in a scene. She is also very funny and combining this with Jon Hamm's laconic wit makes for an enjoyable experience. As far as the cinematographer is concerned there is a lot of talk about the troubles involved in setting up and shooting in limited periods in a Manhattan environment and the cast discuss the joys of working with their friends. That itself presented some problems as Kristin Wiig was only available in the gaps between her Saturday Night Live timetable.
†††† A decent selection of outtakes and bloopers mainly uncontrollable giggling and blind fluffs.
†††† As is to be expected with its very short run time this is more of an EPK than a fully-fledged examination of the making of the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††The specifications on the other Region DVD's are the same. Buy local or buy the Blu-ray which has added features.
†††† Friends with Kids is not a laugh out loud comedy but rather a witty film which benefits from Jennifer Westfeldt's style of humour. It is a little too dark for a Friday night pizza movie as it examines the failings we adults often make in deciding to bring children into the world and the struggles keeping our relationships together when we do.
††††The DVD is of good quality both in sound and vision. The audio commentary is worth a listen though the other extras are a bit light.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|