What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Review


A movie based on a book of facts about pregnancy? Don’t expect much.

Every mom I know has read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s the best version of a pregnancy Bible that’s out there. The book spans everything you need to know, and also things you really didn’t want to know about being preggers. So you may be asking how they make a movie out of a how-to guide. The answer? Throw a lot of big name actors in it and make all their stories interconnecting; kind of like Valentine’s Day only with babies.

Jules (Cameron Diaz) is a Jillian Michaels-type fitness guru who is dancing on a celebrity dance reality TV show with partner Evan (Matthew Morrison). As the two win the trophy on their season, Jules discovers she is pregnant with Evan’s baby. Her determination and fighting spirit cause problems in their relationship as Evan decides to step up to the plate and try to care for her.

Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and her husband Gary (Ben Falcone) have been trying to have a baby for two years and are just about ready to take a break from trying when they find they are pregnant. Wendy has always wanted to become a mom, and has her own baby boutique dedicated to educating moms about the benefits of nursing. She has glorified pregnancy so much that when she actually experiences it herself, she finds it to be an exhausting, uncomfortable, bloated, stretch-mark filled affair.

Gary’s father Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) is a wealthy former racecar driver, and just as Gary and Wendy announce their pregnancy, Gary and his trophy wife Skyler announce theirs. Only she’s pregnant with twins, barely gains an ounce, and fully enjoys every bit of her pregnancy. No lie, she even sneezes one of the twins out in the delivery room. She’s ‚Äúthat pregnant lady” that everyone hears about.

Rosie (Anna Kendrick) is the chef and owner of her own food truck, and regularly competes with Marco (Chace Crawford) of a rival food truck. The two have definite chemistry and have dated in the past. A one night stand leads to Rosie getting pregnant, but the two have much more to deal with.

Holly (Jennifer Lopez) is a freelance photographer, and she and her husband Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) are beginning the adoption process after discovering that she cannot have children of her own. They struggle with preparing for a baby that isn’t growing inside of her, and their struggles are the ones that translate the most authentically onscreen. Holly feels guilt for not being able to provide her husband with a child, and Alex feels guilt for not feeling ready for a baby they haven’t met.

Alex tries to prepare himself for a baby by hanging out with a group of dads who walk around the park every day. Some of the funniest scenes in the movie come from these dads, and the single guy they idolize (played by True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello). Their outlook on raising children might be more relaxed than the women in their lives, but they adore being dads. It’s really sweet to see.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting does have some genuinely funny and alternately, genuinely emotional moments. Surprisingly, Jennifer Lopez was the most real character. She has even publicly come out and said she would consider adopting after playing the role of Holly. Anna Kendrick is always fantastic, and she’s the other character that seems the most real.

The one thing refreshing about this movie is that it shows every side of pregnancy – the ugly sides and the more glowing ones. However, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a standard, generic, widely improbable yet interconnecting storyline of a movie, that like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, will most likely be soon forgotten. With a movie based on a book of facts about pregnancy, you can’t really expect much.

Director: Kirk Jones
Notable Cast: Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lopez, Anna Kendrick, Brooklyn Decker, Chace Crawford, Chris Rock, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Morrison
Writer(s): Shauna Cross, Heather Hach, based on the book by Heidi Murkoff

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