Since their married friends have morphed into shrill shadows of their former selves, they wonder: Is it possible to bring children into your life without destroying the possibility of romance? Only one way to find out: Tackle the former without even a whiff of romantic expectation. Julie and Jason decide to have a child and to raise the boy, named Joe, 50-50, with no hope of a real relationship between them. This arrangement, they figure, allows them to find their true loves. It’s like a starter marriage without the marriage.
Their friends’ responses to the setup range from skeptical to cynical. Jason’s eventual girlfriend, a Broadway chorus dancer played by Megan Fox, has no interest in parenting. Julie finds a winner in a divorced father played by Edward Burns, yet something — someone — is preventing her from committing. The married-and-exhausted couples are portrayed by Jon Hamm (Westfeldt’s longtime partner off screen) and Kristen Wiig, and by Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd. That’s a lot of talent, most of which helped make Bridesmaids worth seeing.
Flashes of wit brighten the proceed ings here, as when Julie bemoans being set up for a date by Rudolph’s character. “He’s a criminal!” she objects. Rudolph’s reply: “White collar! You can make that work!” Often, though, the banter among these generic folk gets stuck in neutral. Jason is near-fatally smug. The script features exactly one brief conversation about money (everybody has plenty here). Julie and Jason prove to be such fabulous co-parents and so inevitably a couple, the film should have been called A Matter of Time.
Whatever their underlying seriousness or fundamental frivolity, all romantic comedies are plainly that — matters of time, delay mechanisms obstructing, and then joining, the key characters. But compared with Westfeldt’s more interesting previous films, this one really is simply a matter of time.
—MCT, Tribune Media Service Respond: firstname.lastname@example.org