What can you expect from What to Expect When You’re Expecting? A little tenderness and more than a little humor make up this tangential mash of stories focusing on – you guessed it – babies. While there are pure moments of enjoyment to be had during this flick, there are also moments that may make you, and especially your male friends/boyfriends/husbands, cringe.
What is nice about Expecting‘s writing is that it includes a wide spectrum of expecting parents. The most touching story revolves around Holly and Alex’s trek to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. The funniest story goes to Wendy and Gary who finally become pregnant after years of trying, only to find out his father’s trophy wife, Skylar, is pregnant too. Skylar provides plenty of sniggers and laughs as she is one of those women who barely puts on weight, feels wonderful, and gives birth with a mere sneeze. Like New Year’s Eve and Valentines Day, there are several different stories to follow during Expecting, but unfortunately the Holly/Alex and Wendy/Gary stories are the only ones worth seeing. It felt as though the Rosie/Marco story was interjected in an attempt to appeal to a younger, hip crowd. Their story is meant to be heartfelt and touching, but the characters lacked any real emotion or connection to each other. Really, it just makes you want to beat kids over the head for having unprotected one-night stands. The Jules/Evan pregnancy also felt forced, with the intent being one of comic relief. This one tended to be more annoying than anything, with Jules trying to be a “super mom”, a TV star, and being generally bitchy to her barely-there boyfriend.
Story aside, most of the laughs are generated around the timing and realism of the pregnancy jokes. None of these are necessarily new – if you’ve seen a comedy that features a pregnant women, you’ve heard these jokes before. What makes them feel fresh though is their delivery (haha) and slightly elevated stakes. Part of the comedy includes a Saturday morning dads’ group (or “Dude’s Group”) led by Chris Rock which appeared to be funny in the TV spots. It was, however, fairly predictable and a thorough re-hash of the Daddy Daycare gimmick. Of course, this time the dads all claim to love being dads, they just enjoy their guy-time with “no judging.” In all honesty, it’s a desperate attempt to get guys to come to this movie with their female counterparts. Most girls will enjoy the Dude’s Group more than the guys, since that’s the only time that Joe Manganiello (Alcide from True Blood) makes his appearances, and usually with his shirt off.
The performances were nothing special, and I think most of the blame goes to the content and writing. There were a few moments that felt genuine, but most of the characters lacked any depth of emotion. What is surprising is how far pregnancy make up has come. Expecting has its fair share of bare baby-bumps, and they are remarkably well blended and a far cry from that fake, plastic-y look they used to have. However, it seems that Hollywood doesn’t actually know what real pregnant women look like. Yes, our actresses had big bellies and slightly tousled hair, but they were otherwise thin, sexy, and wearing heels. Come on. Where’s the swollen ankles? Where’s the pj’s at the store? I understand that not everyone wants to think of pregnancy in all its realistic glory, but if Expecting is willing to go the distance to joke about these things, why not portray it a little?
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is exactly what you’d expect: a chick flick that women will enjoy seeing with their girlfriends. I can’t imagine anyone without kids or who doesn’t want kids buying a ticket to see this one, and especially not guys. But if you are one of those who matches Lionsgate’s target audience, there is enough humor and tenderness to at least enjoy yourself. If you’re not sure how you feel about the whole pregnancy/baby thing, give this one a pass.
I give What to Expect When You’re Expecting 3 “Magical Pregnancy Unicorns” out of 5.
by Rachael Edwards-Hite