Film Review: What To Expect When You’re Expecting

 
 

Title: What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Director: Kirk Jones

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford, Elizabeth Banks

Release Date: 25 May 2012

With an ensemble cast style that’s been popular of late, similar to Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, this film focuses on five couples and their experiences of pregnancy. Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and Gary (Ben Falcone) plan their baby’s conception with military precision, including an ovulation iPhone app, but are finding it difficult to conceive. Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), Gary’s father, and his trophy-wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker), who’s young enough to be his daughter, experience the ‘perfect’ pregnancy which makes everyone else hate them. Jules (Cameron Diaz) and Evan (Matthew Morrisson) are a celebrity couple who meet while competing in a Dancing with the Stars-esque show. Marco (Chace Crawford) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick) are a young couple whose one night stand leads to unexpected pregnancy. The final couple, Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and Alex (Rodrigo Santiago), are unable to conceive and hope to adopt.

The quality of the stories and acting varies greatly from couple to couple. Gary and Wendy are the most convincing couple, and Elizabeth Banks’ performance deserves special acclaim, as her misery during pregnancy is probably the most realistic portrayal in the whole film. Her search for the ‘glow’ of pregnancy (whatever that is) is shattered as she’s reduced to living at the mercy of her bladder. Her pregnancy is the complete opposite of her younger mother-in-law’s, who walks around in six inch heels and has an almost painless labour. The weirdly competitive relationship between Gary and his father inspires some laughs, but Quaid and Falcone are utterly unconvincing as father and son. Jules (Diaz) and Evan’s (Morrison) experience of pregnancy is probably the most boring of all, with Morrison’s performance bland, and Diaz’s comedic potential woefully underexploited, with the gags coming from the most reductive fart-humour possible. Pregnant women puke! Hilarious!

There was potential for an interesting storyline between Rosie (Kendrick) and Marco (Crawford) as young people facing an unplanned pregnancy, but alas it was not so. Jennifer Lopez’s performance is surprisingly good, with her storyline probably the most touching, and she’s up there with Banks as the stand-out actor in the film. Her struggle with the bureaucracy of adoption and the pain she feels at her inability to conceive are the most emotive of the whole film.

Overall, it was strange that in a film about pregnancy, there wasn’t one sex scene, which demonstrates pretty well how diluted its portrayal was. The dipiction of women was one dimensional, with all the good jokes given to the guys in the Dad’s Club. The film isn’t entirely bad, but not something you’ll be upset about missing.

In a Nutshell: Bland, dull and almost entirely humorless.

by Anna Curran

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