Title: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Director: Kirk Jones (‘Everybody’s Fine’)
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford (TV’s ‘Gossip Girl’), Brooklyn Decker (‘Just Go With It’), Anna Kendrick (‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1’), Matthew Morrison (TV’s ‘Glee’), Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock and Joe Manganiello (TV’s ‘True Blood’)
Popular and successful books are often known for making uninspired, terrible film adaptations. The latest book to receive an inferior movie adaptation is the pregnancy guide ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting.’ While the book is known for providing countless expectant mothers with helpful advice over the last 25 years, the new romantic comedy features far too many stereotypical characters and underdeveloped storylines.
‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ follows several couples preparing for the difficulties of pending parenthood. TV fitness guru Jules (Cameron Diaz) and reality television dance show star Evan (Matthew Morrison) are happy to be starting a family, but soon realize that having a child doesn’t complement their celebrity lifestyle. Author and advocate Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) gets a dose of her militant mothering advice when pregnancy hormones overtake her body. Her husband, Gary (Ben Falcone), struggles with his competitive father, (Dennis Quaid), and his much younger wife, Skyler (Brooklyn Decker), who’s pregnant with twins.
Photographer Holly (Jennifer Lopez) is ready to travel around the world to adopt a child, but her husband, Alex (Rodrigo Santoro), isn’t as prepared. He attends a dude’s support group with other new fathers in order to get ready. Meanwhile, rival food truck chefs Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chace Crawford) surprisingly hook-up, resulting in an unexpected pregnancy before their first date.
Director Kirk Jones’ romantic comedy, like many ensemble films, unfortunately features so many story-lines in an effort to showcase the difficulties of pending and new parenthood that none of the characters are fully developed. Based on the novel of the same name by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ also set out to provide an insight into the various ways people deal with pregnancy, but the characters ultimately come off as being selfish and only concerned with how their lives will be affected by their children. Jules and Wendy, for example, have been so defined by their careers that when they become pregnant with their respective first child, both appear as only being concerned with the changes in their bodies. They also both have take-charge attitudes, and refuse to truly be open to ideas by their partners.
Screenwriters Shauna Cross and Heather Hach also haphazardly include minor details in an effort to connect the characters together. The main couples mostly have little or no connection to each other at all, further making the storyline and relationships in ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ unemotional and simplistic. Instead of heavily promoting its numerous well-known and popular actors, Jones should have created a more sympathetic story and relatable characters with stronger ties to each other in order to make a more intriguing and comical film.
One of the funniest elements of the movie is the dudes support group Alex attends in an effort to prepare for his pending fatherhood. The fellow fathers in the group, including Vic (Chris Rock), Gabe (Rob Huebel), Craig (Thomas Lennon) and Patel (Amir Talai), regularly discuss the unconventional approaches they take to parenting, and amusingly offset the serious attitudes the women develop as their pregnancies continue.
Despite the popularity of the best-selling novel ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting,’ the romantic comedy film unfortunately fails to live up to its literary counterpart. Even with the help of its popular ensemble cast, the movie featured far too many one-dimensional characters and an undeveloped story. Even with the help of several amusing elements, including the father’s support group, the lack of true connection between many of the characters and their underdeveloped backstories fail to make the actors’ deliveries entertaining.
Written by: Karen Benardello