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What to Expect When You’re Expecting

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

What She said:

She

If I remember correctly, this movie was panned by critics. It also kind of looked like it was trying to capitalize on the success of Bridesmaids (review here). It had that similar zainy comedy about a group of women thing going on. Well if a heavily criticized rip-off doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.  Hey, as long as it’s not one of those period pieces the She loves, I’m willing to give it a chance.

The movie is about a collection of people who each are going through the experiences that come along with raising a family. Some are first-time parents, others are having their first kid in a while, and some are adopting. Regardless, they all share a bond of the stress and joys that involve bringing a new life into your family.

Jacqui
What should you expect from a movie that is stocked with A-List actresses and promises to tell you what to expect when you’re having a baby?  Women acting a little goofy, spazzing over their bodies, and men frustratingly at the mercy of their raging hormones.  I wondered before viewing this if What to Expect… would turn me off from ever having children.  I have to say, I’m pretty unaffected, because the bottom line on this is that it’s more of a cartoon of personalities than it is anything even remotely relatable.  That said, I liked Elizabeth Banks’ character, Wendy.  Aside from her neuroticism and weird baby obsession, she seemed somewhat normal in her approach to becoming a mom. 

The movie is about a handful of pretty women—Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, and Anna Kendrick—who find out they’re going to become mothers.  Notice I say “going to become mothers” because not all of them are actually pregnant.  Each has a very different experience.  For some, the journey is a smooth one, a complete joy.  For others, it’s a personal challenge.  We get to see the panic as each moves closer to the date of touchdown; some worrying about motherhood, others about finances, etc.  Each lady really is different, but none of them seem real.  Diaz is a nationally renowned fitness guru that does one of those weight loss shows.  Banks owns a mothering store (very weird).  JLo is a photographer who seems to have her husband wrapped around her pinky.  Brooklyn Decker is a rich race car driver’s trophy wife.  And Anna Kendrick works in a food truck.  

The process ends in heartbreak for one, and is a growing experience (literally and figuratively) for the rest.  The film is presented as a comedy, and there are some good laughs (some-not-so-good), but there’s also some forced more serious messaging.  I’m not sure that What to Expect… effectively treads both sides of that line between comedy and drama, and so that’s a bit of a fail.  I did, however, find the movie somewhat entertaining, mostly because I wasn’t expecting much.  My standards were low, very, very low.  The movie is predictable for the most part, and really is just careless fodder.  But I didn’t mind it, overall, and so I would recommend it to most chicks out there.  Guys, you’re not going to be interested.

Thumbs half up.

What he said:

He

If I remember correctly, this movie was panned by critics. It also kind of looked like it was trying to capitalize on the success of Bridesmaids (review here). It had that similar zainy comedy about a group of women thing going on. Well if a heavily criticized potential rip-off doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.  Hey, as long as it’s not one of those period pieces the She loves, I’m willing to give it a chance.

The movie is about a collection of people who each are going through the experiences that come along with starting a family. It’s the definition of an ensemble cast. Some are first-time parents, others are having their first kid in a while, and some are adopting. Regardless of their differences, they are all about to go through the inevitable stresses and joys that come with having a child.

Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro play a couple who has decided to adopt after having trouble conceiving.  The only problem is he’s not too sure if he actually wants to become a father, and he hasn’t exactly communicated that to her. Elizabeth Banks plays a baby expert who has never had a baby. She has also had trouble conceiving. Ben Falcone plays her husband. When they finally do manage to succeed in getting pregnant, they are upstaged – once again – but his super competitive father (played by Dennis Quaid). His character is a former racecar driver who is married to a new trophy wife played by Brooklyn Decker.  She is one of those people who only gains weight in her belly and is super happy about the whole pregnancy experience. Cameron Diaz plays a famous fitness expert in the same vein as Jillian Michaels. After a stint on a reality show similar to Dancing With the Stars, she ends up getting pregnant with her partner; who is played by Matthew Morrison from Glee. Finally we have Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford’s characters. They are single 20-somethings who had a one night stand and decided to give the relationship a chance when they realize she’s pregnant. Oh yeah, and there’s this group of dads who meet at a park every week with their kids; which doubles as an informal therapy session.

First off, I have to say this movie had some serious parts that I did expect. The trailers made the movie look pretty light and goofy. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little substance – and some of the more serious parts were actually pretty sad – but it didn’t mesh with the rest of the movie. It felt a little disjointed in that sense. There is a way to blend funny with emotional and not make it feel that way, but this movie struggled in that sense.

Like with many comedies, there are some jokes that simply fall flat. Something either strikes you as funny or it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, it can be awkward to watch. However, I did find myself laughing more often than not at the jokes. I think Elizabeth Banks is a pretty funny gal. She is great on 30 Rock and her comedic talents are also on display here as well. The baby experts expectations of pregnancy suddenly change when she’s actually with child. It is especially funny when she interacts with Brooklyn Decker’s character; who not only loves being pregnant, but doesn’t experience a fraction of the misery Banks’ character is going through. Dennis Quaid is also pretty funny as her obnoxiously competitive father-in-law. I also enjoyed some of the humor revolving around group of dads who meet in the park to vent about their lives. Some of it totally fell flat, but the stuff I did find funny, really made me laugh. In particular, I found the one kid playing Chris Rock’s son to be absolutely hilarious. He was always kicking some unsuspecting stranger in the shins, falling over something, or just generally getting into something. There were also a few scenes with Joe Manganiello’s character that were pretty funny. He plays this single, buff, and generally cool guy who the dads are jealous of because of his bachelor lifestyle.

This isn’t a great movie, but certainly didn’t deserve the harsh criticism it received. It had enough laughs to keep me interested and entertain me. With a little tweaking, I think he could have actually been a lot better.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on September 21, 2012