Director: Kirk Jones
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Joe Manganiello, Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford, Dennis Quaid, Rodrigo Santoro, Rob Heubel, Ben Falcone, Thomas Lennon, Amir Talai, Cheryl Cole
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language & Sexual References)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: http://whattoexpectthefilm.com/
Opening Day: 17 May 2012
Synopsis: 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 Marco's surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date? A kaleidoscopic comedy as universal as it is unpredictable, "WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING" finds humor and uplift in all the unexpected trials and triumphs of welcoming a child into the world.
Loosely inspired by Heidi Murkoff’s best-selling pregnancy manual of the same title, What to Expect When You are Expecting centers around five couples, each having their own problem revolving around pregnancy.
Jules (Cameron Diaz) is a fitness guru and the host of a weight loss reality show “Lose it and Weep”, who is expecting with Evan (Matthew Morrison) unexpectedly, her dance partner in another reality show, “Celebrity Dance Factor”. These two must now find a way to balance the pregnancy along with their new relationship and demanding careers. Holly (Jennifer Lopez) is a photographer with “bad eggs” and she is hoping to adopt a baby from Ethiopia with her husband, Alex (Rodrigo Santoro). She is so determined to succeed that she feels the need to wear fake eyelashes.
Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) has been trying to have a baby for two years with her husband, Gary (Ben Falcone) and once multiple pregnancy tests come up positive, they rush to tell Gary’s father, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), a former NASCAR legend, who gotten his new trophy wife, Skyler (Brooklyn Decker), pregnant without much effort. Gary has some daddy issues, and this subplot ends up with a golf-cart racing at the backyard of Ramsey’s mansion, is one of the many clichéd elements of the film. Lastly, there is the twenty-something Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chace Crawford), competing food truck owners and former high schoolmates who got knocked up when they finally give in to the temptation one night.
The story for the movie may be good enough for a few episodes on a television sitcom but definitely not a full feature film. However, it is hard to blame the scriptwriters as they have nothing much to work on since they are supposed to be inspired by a non-fictional source with no story, characters or any form of engaging qualities. The paper thin plot expectedly fails to create believable and dimensional characters and fits any possible pregnancy clichés into the story, ending up with a sloppy and incoherent mess.
The plot also follows the tried and tested formula of any low end comedy by starting with making fun of almost everything possible and ending up with an affirmation of socially desirable values. This is most prominently shown in the “dude group” in which dads push strollers in the park and lament about fatherhood. Portrayed at first as juvenile, with repeated gags upon each meeting, the group ultimately agrees that all forms of sacrifice for parenthood are worth it. This will probably fit well into the government campaign for more babies and console the parents-to-be in the audience, but for the other, it will be difficult to relate to this surreal notion.
It is depressing to see that Hollywood has continued to include educational manuals as sources for adaptation after countless novels, comics and games. Maybe dictionary and encyclopedia will be next. Director Kirk Jones, once again, proved that family comedy is not his forte after coming out from Everybody’s Fine (2009). His first two directorial efforts (Nanny McPhee and Waking Ned Devine) are much more entertaining. Perhaps it is hard for him to juggle between so many scenes and characters that are neither connected nor intertwined except for the fact that the couples remotely know one another somehow, somewhat.
The only better aspect of the show is the ensemble cast, who thankfully delivers. Banks (Zack and Miri Make a Porno) again proves herself to be a gifted comedienne with perfect comedic timing. As her husband, Falcone (Bridesmaids) shines in his scenes. Kendrick (Up in the Air) confirms her status as one of her generation’s brightest young stars but she might need to start choosing better scripts if she wants to advance in this industry. Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) also delivers some hilarity as the shop assistant in Wendy’s shop, “The Breast Choice”. Diaz (Bad Teacher) and Lopez (The Back-up Plan), without a doubt, still have enough screen gravitas to carry off their role well enough to entertain.
All in all, What to Expect When You’re Expecting works mainly as a showcase for the talents of its cast so expect nothing more out of it.
(It is best to lower your expectations as I expect this may not be what you might be expecting)
Review by Sing Swee Leong