Expect some laughs with 'What to Expect When You’re Expecting'

Evan (Mat­thew Mor­ris­on) and Ju­les (Camer­on Diaz) in WHAT TO EX­PECT WHEN YOU’RE EX­PECT­ING. Photo cred­it: Melissa Mose­ley


No baby stone is left un­turned in What to Ex­pect When You’re Ex­pect­ing, which ad­dresses everything from morn­ing sick­ness to mis­car­riage and everything in between, such as the “glow,” epi­dur­als, nat­ur­al child­birth, C-sec­tions and ad­op­tion. Ba­sic­ally, it’s about the highs and lows of hav­ing a baby.

In the same vein as He’s Just Not that In­to You, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, Ex­pect­ing is an­oth­er one of those sit­com-y movies with a large cast and sim­ul­tan­eous, loosely con­nec­ted storylines.

Based on the best-selling, self-help, how-to guide read by mil­lions of ex­pect­ant moth­ers, the movie cre­ates fic­tion­al stor­ies and char­ac­ters while drop­ping some nug­gets of in­form­a­tion from the book. With a script from writers Shauna Cross and Heath­er Hach, dir­ect­or Kirk Jones fo­cuses on five couples in the At­lanta area. The stor­ies didn’t over­lap very much, so the movie of­ten felt dis­join­ted.

Here’s the lineup: Rosie and Marco (Anna Kendrick and Chace Craw­ford) are the young, rival food truck op­er­at­ors who con­ceive dur­ing a one-night stand. Jen­nifer Lopez is Holly, a pho­to­graph­er mar­ried to Alex (Rodrigo San­toro). After spend­ing their life sav­ings on un­suc­cess­ful IVF treat­ments, they de­cide to ad­opt a baby from Ethiopia.

Camer­on Diaz is Ju­les, the real­ity TV star and fit­ness guru (think The Biggest Loser) who hooks up Evan (Mat­thew Mor­ris­on), her part­ner on a dan­cing TV show (think Dan­cing With the Stars).

Eliza­beth Banks is Wendy, the baby ex­pert who is fi­nally with child after years of try­ing with her hus­band Gary (Ben Fal­cone). Un­for­tu­nately, there is a huge rivalry with Gary’s dad Ram­sey (Den­nis Quaid) and his much young­er wife Sky­ler (Brook­lyn Deck­er), who is preg­nant with twins.

Then, there’s the “no judging” dude’s group of dads led by Chris Rock. San­toro’s char­ac­ter, nervous about his im­pend­ing in­ter­na­tion­al ad­op­tion, joins the group and learns that fath­er­hood is where hap­pi­ness goes to die. The dads spend much time envy­ing the young, buff guy (Joe Man­gani­ello) who runs shirt­less through the park where they gath­er.

The scenes with the group of dads of­fer the most laughs and stops the movie from be­ing a com­plete chick flick. I would ad­vise one not be misled by the pre­views, which make it seem like the guys are a big part of the movie. They aren’t. The dads were funny enough that their is­sues could have been de­veloped in­to an en­tire movie, but that is not the case.

Banks is the best of the ladies bunch. Her por­tray­al of the wo­man who is forced to ad­mit that preg­nancy isn’t all sun­shine and rain­bows, but is in­stead of­ten hem­or­rhoids and gas is funny and heart­warm­ing. She, too, prob­ably could have been the fo­cus of an en­tire movie. The Diaz char­ac­ter was es­pe­cially un­real­ist­ic and prob­ably un­re­lat­able for any­one not on a TV show — i.e., most people.

The Afric­an ad­op­tion ce­re­mony with Lopez and San­toro offered a sur­pris­ingly touch­ing mo­ment. Kendrick and Craw­ford were on­screen so sporad­ic­ally it was hard to get at­tached to them.

What to Ex­pect When You’re Ex­pect­ing is cer­tainly not a must-see movie, but it might make a de­cent rent­al. While there are some dra­mat­ic mo­ments, over­all, it had more laughs than I ex­pec­ted. ••

Movie Grade: B-


You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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