Krysten Ritter (from left), Rachel Bilson and Kate Bosworth are BFFs in the indie comedy “Life Happens.”
‘Life Happens’ ★★★
Kim Krysten Ritter
Deena Kate Bosworth
Laura Rachel Bilson
Nathan Geoff Stults
Francesca Kristen Johnston
Pop Seymour Cassel
PMK/BNC Films presents a film directed by Kat Coiro. Written by Coiro and Krysten Ritter. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated R (for sexual content, including references). Opening Friday at AMC River East 21.
Updated: May 14, 2012 8:03AM
Like the chick-flick hit “Bridesmaids,” the low-budget indie film “Life Happens” is an R-rated buddy comedy in which the buddies just happen to be women.
But just like in the guy comedies, the three gals in “Life Happens” have that lifelong-friend shorthand that has kicked in long before the movie picks up their stories. Well into their 20s, they share a house, they have one-night stands, they cruise around L.A. singing to rap music, they complain about their careers, they give one another grief, they fight, they make up.
It’s the whole BFF thing.
Though rated R, “Life Happens” is a much milder and more grounded comedy than the recent “Bridesmaids,” with a smart if somewhat contrived script co-written by director Kat Coiro and Krysten Ritter, who also stars.
With her exotically quirky, old-time screwball- comedy-star good looks and her inherently likable screen presence, Ritter is on the verge of breakthrough stardom following her memorable run as Jesse’s junkie girlfriend on “Breaking Bad” and a starring role in ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.” (And how’s that for a sitcom title?) In “Life Happens,” Ritter delivers another winning performance as Kim, a dog walker who lives with wisecracking journalist Deena (Kate Bosworth) and uber-upbeat virgin Laura (Rachel Bilson). (That all three are so gorgeous their house would be the stuff of legend in the neighborhood is a fact generally ignored by the script.)
On a soon-to-be-fateful night, Deena and Kim have each brought home a guy (each must be thinking they’ve won the one-night stand lottery), but there’s only one condom left in the house — and rather than either of them telling their respective lucky dudes to run to the drugstore, Deena gets the condom and Kim will soon get a reminder that she apparently didn’t pay enough attention in sex-ed class.
Cut to a year later, with Kim now a mommy, still living with her two girlfriends and trying to juggle child, career, friendships and possible romance. The idiot who impregnated her has blithely announced he’s not much interested in being a father, leaving Kim to fend for herself — with a lot of help from her friends and from her father (Seymour Cassel).
From this cliched setup springs a refreshingly funny comedy, with Bosworth giving each punchline a healthy polish of sarcasm, and the infectiously cheerful Bilson debating whether she should go on a reality show called “The Last Virgin,” which sounds so ludicrous it’ll probably actually make it on to television some day.
Even as Deena and Laura gamely pitch in to help out with the baby so Kim can continue working for her insane boss (Kristen Johnson) and occasionally have a free night, we see the subtle changes in the friendship dynamic, with Kim trying not to be too resentful of Deena’s fast-tracking career. The weakest part of “Life Happens” is actually the main romance between Kim and a generic hunk named Nathan (Geoff Stults). Nathan makes it clear he’s not into kids before Kim has a chance to tell him about the kid she’s got at home — so Kim launches into a sitcom-level lie about Deena being the baby’s mother. Cue the cover-ups and misunderstandings and eventual feelings of betrayal.
More interesting is the oddball romance between Deena and a disturbingly mustachioed Justin Kirk. And most interesting of all are the bonds between Kim, Deena and Laura. If Krysten Ritter didn’t already have a TV show, “Life Happens” would offer good material for an adaptation.