Film Review – What To Expect When You’re Expecting

What To Expect When You’re Expecting (M)

Directed by: Kirk Jones

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick

Three stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In a film where an actress emerges from swimming laps with her face still made up and hair looking like something out of a shampoo commercial and a pregnant character that claims to have lost bowel control and sporting back acne but appears to have stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine, it is clear the people behind What To Expect When You’re Expecting were not going for documentary-like realism. In fact, very few events and conversations in this film that chronicles the impending parenthood of five couples comes close to reality.

Sure, some women glow and take the extra weight of another human growing inside them in their stride. But some of them also like to spread out on the couch in a tracksuit and not have to worry about running a brush through their hair. The latter are not represented here. But if you go into this airbrushed look at what some women endure while they are pregnant not expecting realism, there is a chance you will get a few giggles out of it.

Reality TV show contestants Jules (Cameron Diaz) and Evan (Matthew Morrison) find they are on the same page in their short relationship until it comes to making decisions about their baby, Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) suffers severe mood swings to the dismay of her supportive husband Gary (Ben Falcone) who is struggling to come to terms with the fact his estranged father Ramsey’s (Dennis Quaid) 20-something wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) is due to give birth to twins around the same time as Wendy.

Meanwhile, rival food vendors Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chace Crawford) try to deal with their pregnancy, which was the result of a one night stand. And Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) go through the complicated and painful adoption process while coping with new-found financial issues.

There is some no brainer fun to be had with this very broad look at pregnancy and how different women experience an assortment of changes and anxieties.  The film flits from farcical moments to sitcom style one-liners with ease but without much to its core, there is little to hold on to. For the most part this is pregnancy through rose-tinted glasses and any potentially devastating effects are quickly resolved and swept under the rug.

What keeps this watchable is the cast, with Lopez appropriately sweet and Rebel Wilson basically reprising her Bridesmaids role and disguising it with a southern accent but she still manages to register some laughs. But Banks runs away with the film with some of her best work with her hormone driven crazy behaviour. Her scenes highlight a film that is dotted with drawn out and unfunny ones featuring Chris Rock who leads a support group of new Dads spouting what the scriptwriters think is wisdom. But it’s not.


2 Responses to “Film Review – What To Expect When You’re Expecting”

  1. Good review! I quite enjoyed it for what it was, some light hearted fun – but when it tries to be anything other then that it fails.

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