Toronto 2011: Comedy ‘Friends With Kids’ recalls ‘Bridesmaids’
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Heads of Focus Features, Summit Entertainment, the Weinstein Co. and most of the other major independent distributors were on hand Friday for the first high-profile acquisition screening of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘Friends With Kids.’ Heightened interest for the film from writer-director and star Jennifer Westfeldt centers on the ‘Kissing Jessica Stein’ star’s take on how life changes once close friends start having children.
Fans lined the sidewalk in front of the Ryerson Theatre eager to get a glimpse of the high-wattage cast that includes Westfeldt’s long-time boyfriend Jon Hamm and actresses Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig and Megan Fox. The film played like gangbusters, with audiences laughing and crying at all the appropriate moments. The unconventional romantic comedy received a lot of kudos from audience members calling it ‘real’ with ‘a great script.’
‘It was terrifying so I’m pleased you all stayed,'quipped Westfeldt following the world premiere of the film. The Q&A following the screening featured Westfeldt, who hasn’t starred in a movie for a decade, Hamm, Fox and Adam Scott, who decides to evade the challenges that come with bringing a baby into a marriage by having a child with his best friend. Naturally, his plan, which would enable the two friends to share custody of the baby but continue to date other people, goes awry.
The cast featured a lot of the players that were in this summer’s surprise hit ‘Bridesmaids,’ including Wiig, Hamm, Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd. That coincidence wasn’t lost on the crowd, with one audience member asking specifically how the casting so closely matched the summer phenomenon. ‘I wasn’t in ‘Bridemaids’,’ quipped Scott. Only to have Hamm retort, ‘You really should have been in ‘Bridesmaids.’ It was great. It made so much money.’
Rather Westfeldt pulled most of her cast from her group of friends -- people whose life experience mirrors the film in many ways. Said Scott, who is a father himself, ‘Working on this film was the most time I’ve been able to spend with Jessica and Jon since I had kids.’
--Nicole Sperling in Toronto