Review – What to Expect When you’re Expecting
So – what to expect when you are watching What To Expect When You’re Expecting (sorry, I couldn’t resist). The storyline follows five couples as they each discover their pregnancies and their impending parent status. Obviously the situation of each couple is different, and between them they cover a wide range of (mostly) credible scenarios.
Couple 1 – Jules and Evan (Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison) are a celebrity dance couple (yes, there’s your first *eyeroll*) who balance their TV careers with an unexpected pregnancy after only dating for a few months
Couple 2 – Holly and Alex (Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro) are heading down the adoption route after unsuccessful IVF, and Alex is very unsure about the whole parent thing.
Couple 3 – Rosie and Marco (Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford) are the young couple who enjoy just the one night with (more than) a few beers, and an unexpected pregnancy ensues;
Couple 4 – Wendy and Gary Cooper (Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone) are the couple who have been trying for years, and finally it happens.
Couple 5 – Skyler and Ramsey Cooper (Brooklyn Decker and Dennis Quaid), the aging racing driver and his 30-yr-younger bunny wife unexpectedly discover a pregnancy at the same time as Ramsey’s son Gary.
At first glance you would expect a lively funny comedy about the complicated and emotional way we struggle into parenthood. Especially when looking at the cast of players you would assume intelligent humour throughout, with some guffaws guaranteed from the likes of Chris Rock. Unfortunately this is not the case – in fact it barely raises a smile through much of the film (to be fair there are a few chuckles as the film awkwardly groans and moans (geddit?!) towards its conclusion). It’s just not that rip-roaringly funny. The Dad’s Club, fully armed with prams, slings and baby bottles promised much; especially with Chris Rock at its head. However this was probably the most disappointing element of the film altogether, with the over obvious attempt at inept but eager fatherhood humour falling flatter than an English pancake.
BUT… the film is not ‘bad’ either. It does have amusing moments, and a few tender ones here and there. But it’s so frustratingly shallow (and yes, I do know this is a ‘chick flick’, but even so!). J Lo is (rather unconvincingly) penniless, yet is adopting from Ethiopia. You catch a glimpse of the sorrow in her struggle to have a child… but you’re left needing to know more. Wendy & Gary’s story doesn’t know whether it’s about Gary’s relationship with his own father, or Wendy’s notions of how her Perfect Pregnancy will go… and you end up with nothing much of either. In fact you don’t get close enough to really care about any of the characters all that deeply – except, perhaps, during the poignant miscarriage scenes.
And Cameron Diaz? I’m usually a big fan… but lose her and ‘Mr Schue’ and the film would have been tighter, and have more room for a little character development. They’re fluffy frosting on an already over-sweet film.
And yet – the film covers a miscarriage with quiet tenderness, and did make me laugh out loud in a few places.
It covers the often-awkward subject of pregnancy well enough; although there are some obvious over exaggerations (this is supposed to be a comedy after all!). But at the end of the day the film just sort of pleasantly meanders its way through to its very obvious, but nonetheless satisfying conclusions (or ‘contractions’), and we are left with the bundles of expected happiness.
What to expect is a film worth watching; when there really isn’t anything else worth watching. Don’t expect to get the tissues out, it won’t make you cry with laughter, but it won’t leave you feeling empty either. Gentle smiles all round then.
LittleStuff Rating – 3/5 mugs.