The movie’s title is What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but I am titling this review What to Expect while You’re Watching What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
"Not much" is the answer. It’s an interesting title but a not-so-interesting movie.
Summary first. Then criticism.
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Director Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee) is a terrific storyteller and does the best he can with an overloaded script from Whip It’s Shauna Cross and the writer of the 2003 version of Freaky Friday -- Heather Hatch. They base the movie on the first of Heather Murkoff’s popular pregnancy books.
The cast is loaded with names: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock, Dennis Quaid and more. Loaded is the key to the film’s flaw. It has too many characters in too many cliche pregnancy-and-relationship crises with stories told in TV soap opera-like episodic chunks.
Cross and Hatch use characters to explain different aspects of the help offered in Murkoff’s self-help book. The breast-feeding expert struggles, wishes she had that pregnancy “glow” and ends up hating every minute of the experience. She’s jealous of the young, beautiful wife of the father of her husband. That woman does have the “glow.” A weight-loss TV show guru is pregnant and whether to circumcise becomes front page news. She and the baby’s father argue about who’s really making decisions for the child and for their relationship.
A young couple pregnant after a first encounter have an early tragedy, adoption is on tap for another and on it goes.
While the movie — as a whole — is not that good, some of the material is quite funny. Women who’ve had babies can relate. And can laugh. Humor for guys comes from a group of fathers led by Chris Rock who put pregnancy, being ready for fatherhood, marriage and child raising in terms guys can get.
Rock squeaks out some clever, relatable lines.
Wrapping up everyone’s experience drags on forever and makes the 70-minute movie seem twice as long.
On a positive note, I did end up being grateful that the producers didn’t force us to sit through all stages of lives of the children and take us to when the parents struggle to find the funds to send the kids to college.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Directed by Kirk Jones
Stars: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock, Thomas Lennon, Dennis Quaid
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.