I'm going to try to take a more objective stand-point on this movie. I feel the director's goal was to show that queer families and relationships are like heterosexual families and relationships. The kids are 'alright,' but there are still ups and downs to every marriage. In a way, it was kind of a breath of fresh air, not seeing a couple swept up in a Hollywood romance, but the fact still remains that the couple was dysfunctional. However, that can go for any couple, gay or straight. Marriages tend to lose romance and settle into domesticity, and often go sexless when tension is high, which was both portrayed in both The Birdcage and The Kids Are Alright. However, both relationships portrayed were not healthy ones, but somehow magically mended themselves without any direct communication and resolution between the couple.
What I was not okay with, was the fact that Jules slept with a man. Yes, sexuality can be fluid. Yes, sometimes problems within a relationship can add to the temptation to be unfaithful. But she identifies as a lesbian (before, during, and after the sexual romp with Mark Ruffalo) and is in a committed lesbian relationship. It is just further perpetuation, along with gay porn being incorporated into sex (hey, it might be their thing, but really? Was it necessary?), that lesbians ultimately need men to have a satisfying sex life (which wasn't even the case with the lone sex scene between Nic and Jules. Nic looked pretty damn apathetic to the fact that woman she loves was between her legs, even with the addition of the gay porn). If Jules really needed to cheat to drive home the point that the couple was having issues, why with a man? Jules reiterated that she was a lesbian more than once throughout the movie, so why couldn't she have cheated with a woman? In my opinion, it would have made the movie 'too queer' to be an economically successful movie in this heteronormative society, so some hetero-sexy time was needed to make the film more 'acceptable' on a larger scale. I mean, who cares if it detracts from the legitimacy of lesbian relationships and the strength and consistency of the plot, as long as theater seats are filled?