What to Expect When You’re Expecting

28 Oct

 

Director: Kirk Jones

Writers: Shauna Cross (screenplay), Heather Hach (screenplay)

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison and J. Todd Smith

Motion Picture Rating: 12A

Runtime: 110 minutes

 

 

Movies about babies and fledgling families are all the rage. Along with this one, based on a best-selling novel, there have been 3 or 4 others out in the last year or so (Friends with Kids and I Don’t Know How she does It among them). Hollywood has clearly taken the pulse of 30 and 40 something’s and decided that films about making babies can make box office. That seems odd to me. If you are a couple trying to make or care for a baby why would you want to spend time and money on a babysitter to go out and sit through other couples’ baby related headaches and heartbreaks?

In this film we have 5 couples that are obsessed with babies, but that come from slightly different backgrounds and that face slightly different challenges. As such we get to see wanted and unwanted pregnancies, adoptions and a variety of birthing choices. It’s all in there – a nice spectrum of 30 and 40 something’s with a nice range of baby making dilemmas. Among the couples Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison share the most screen time with Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone a little behind them and then Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro further back.

The few decent elements in this film oddly by-pass the starring couples and are left to cameos by Rebel Wilson and Megan Mullally. Besides them, Anna Kendrick is rather good playing a young woman pregnant after a one night stand. That’s it for the positives. There are so many negatives!

Truly, this is an awful film. I would like to say that its heart is in the right place, but I can’t even do that. It is formulaic, manipulative and riddled with clichés. As a comedy I had to wait about 60 minutes for a first laugh and as a drama it resorts to ludicrous plotting including a simmering son versus dad plot involving Dennis Quaid (looking embarrassed to be in the film). At times the dialogue seems to come straight out of a self-help guide for first time parents and at the end we are told that making babies is really tough, but having them pays back tenfold. That’s the insight folks. That’s the reward for sitting through 110 minutes of pure mediocrity.

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