A version of this review appeared in The Age, June 7, 2012.
It would be too much to say that every new romantic comedy is secretly a symposium on gay marriage – but something must be prompting the current wave of films about domestic arrangements that differ from the norm. Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, this independent production stars Westfeldt and Adam Scott as Julie and Jason, platonic best pals who decide to have a baby together, sharing custody while leading separate lives.
Unsurprisingly, the plan receives a mixed response from their circle of friends – who are played by half the actors from Bridesmaids, including Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, and who turn out to have a variety of relationship issues of their own. Combining easy, silly jokes with harsher home truths, Westfeldt's script trades on the assumption that passion goes out the window once kids enter the picture. Will Julie and Jason get the best of both worlds? Secretly, everyone is hoping they won't.
Westfeldt may not have the comic verve of her better-known co-stars, but she's taken an intriguing risk by casting herself in the lead role. Conveying a skittish kind of maternal warmth, she serves as a foil for the nervous energy of Scott, a bright-eyed chipmunk who comes off like an eternal teenager. Indeed, there are pointed hints that Jason's fear of commitment – not to mention his penchant for large breasts – might relate to unresolved issues with his own parents. In order to fall for Julie, does he need to turn her into a mother first? The film never tackles this question head-on, but deserves credit for venturing where few rom-coms would think to go.