Follows the lives of five interconnected couples as they experience the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and realize that no matter what you plan for, life does not always deliver what is expected.
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Inspired by the perennial New York Times bestseller of the same name, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING is a hilarious and heartfelt big screen comedy about five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood. Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don't stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy's husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who's expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn't so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a "dudes" support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and ... Written by
Twenty floating heads can't make you laugh but a couple of actors can grab your heart
I was expecting to come away with a sassy name for this new genre, the Hollywood-ensemble rom-com, but there was nothing clever to provide any inspiration in "What to Expect When You're Expecting". The best line that I have heard to describe this comes from a fellow IMDb user, gregeichelberger, "It's "New Year's Eve" in the neo-natal unit; "Valentine's Day" with a uterus; "Knocked Up" times five." That sums up the whole thing perfectly.
The Hollywood ensemble is this frustrating trend to load the movie with as many stars as possible, so you have only floating heads and no actual characters. Surprisingly, one of the worst offenders is the similarly-themed indie dramedy "Conception" (2010) where we get to follow 9 (yes, 9!) different couples. This movie isn't as bad, there are only 5 main couples.
The intertwining of them is very limited. The four other girls basically all watch Jules (Cameron Diaz) on her reality TV shows. The timing, on the other hand, is all in sync. They get pregnant at the same time, start showing at the same time, and give birth at the same time. The point is of course that you don't know what to expect since each girl's pregnancy is different and experiences it differently.
Jules is going to control it whether her partner tags along or not; Holly (Jennifer Lopez) is going to lie her way through adoption if that's what it takes; Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) wants the joy but gets the worst; Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) is going to make it perfect, just like herself; Rosie (Anna Kendrick) doesn't know what she's going to do. If the movie had left it at that, it would have been cute, romantic, funny and heartfelt, and possibly empowering.
But then they introduced "the dude pack" which is even worse than it sounds. They are a group of fathers, led by Chris Rock, who are given the stupidest sounding lines to try and make funny. It was painful how unfunny it was. Imagine if you will, a Hollywood writer being paid to come up with never-before-said lines to turn into popular catch-phrases. The way "Horrible Bosses" was almost successful (but ultimately not) with Sudeikis' "I would like to bend her over a barrel and show her the fifty states". That was exactly the case with the "comedy" in this movie. All of their lines were met with a few unimpressed question marks on faces but never any laughs.
However, the mothers-to-be were pretty good. Some were on the boring side, but two were able to deliver enough humour and heart to almost make up for the entirety of "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I don't know what it is about Anna Kendrick but she makes my heart melt every time she's on the screen. Extremely cute, in a relatable kind of way, and able to hold our hearts, she was the one that got us through this movie. Elizabeth Banks was able to go as over-the-top as only pregnant movie heroines are allowed to and gave it her all to deliver the comedy of what not to expect. Of course, it wasn't quite enough because we do know exactly what to expect.
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