After seeing a new comedy ostensibly about parenting that opens today in the region, I propose a new movie rating: RPK or Restricted to adults Post-Kids.
“Friends With Kids” is hilarious for viewers who have already survived the harrowing first years of parenthood and, if married, have remained so. For those married folk who haven’t had kids and plan to some day, it might be better considered as a horror flick. Or birth control.
The story premise is that marriage, kids and happiness cannot all existence together, at least not for a few years. The trailer is here:
The movie’s two main characters, one portrayed by Jennifer Westfeldt who wrote and directed the film, witness their closest friends try to juggle their kids and their marriages. It scares the bejesus out of them.
The best and worst part of this scenario is that it’s a pretty honest depiction. These couples have every cultural advantage and they still strain terribly under the pressure. No amount of money, education and wit can save them from insomniac bickering.
Overall, the movie reminded me of the day I, fully pregnant at the time, approached a mother overseeing two kids and asked if she had any advice for an about-to-be-new mom.
The mother looked at me with two earnest, pleading, bagged eyes. “It’s hard on the marriage,” she said. “It’s hard to be nice to each other when neither of you is sleeping.”
Now, imagine you’re pregnant or plan to be and sitting through a two-hour version of that answer.
Without giving away too much, the movie follows our heroes as they experiment with a novel child-rearing approach designed to circumvent the marriage-sucking burdens of the traditional love-marriage-baby path.
Last week, I joined Westfeldt, who does not have children and has been in a long-term relationship with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm — who also stars in the movie and gives a particularly sobering depiction of post-kid married life — for a Q&A after a screening of the movie.
She was asked by a member of the audience if she plans to have kids.
“We don’t know. We don’t really don’t know. We love kids. We love our friends’ kids. Our lives are so crazy …. That might happen. I don’t know,” she said, her voiced trailing off.
What do you think if the “Friends With Kids” premise? Is it honest or is it too cynical to suggest that the notion of romantic love has to take a back seat to kids, at least for a few years?