WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU
SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the perennial New York Times bestseller of the same name and the first book in a series that has sold over 35 million copies worldwide, 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?
REVIEW: This star-studded collaboration brings out the best in the romantic comedy genre. Director Kirk Jones delivers this hilarious and heartfelt alternating adaptation of the self-help book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” by Heidi Murkoff. The movie is essentially an emotional rollercoaster that ranges from couples receiving bad news regarding pregnancy, on one extreme, to the humorous realization and delivery of twins, on the other extreme, with a range of unexpected touching situations in between. Gifted comic actress Elizabeth Banks joins the likes of Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, , Dennis Quaid, and Chris Rock, just to name a few, to bring us the take on relationships, life and family with a spotlight on pregnancy. This uber talented celebrity line-up caroms off each other with lots of zingers and issues that work and carries the movie’s message through to the very end.
Chris Rock makes bit of a splash with his role as the unofficial leader of the “Dude” Group, offering up lots male-perspective laughs and commentary of sorts, to a bumbling quartet of house-husband dads dutifully meeting on a regular basis to exchange the trials and tribulations of “Dad-hood.” His portrayal is funny and strange at the same time, not unlike what one would imagine as “House-husbands of Atlanta:” the series (if ever there was such a show). Elizabeth Banks (Wendy), the owner of a motherhood emporium called Breast Choice, gives a very believable pregnancy performance, while Cameron Diaz seems to struggle to convince the audience that she is a capable of being in a position of pregnancy. In addition, I found Jennifer Lopez’s performance very touching and surprisingly convincing, portraying a wife struggling to put together some semblance of a real family. Quaid and the rest of the cast seem to bring out the hilarity of the film and show how pregnancy is not a one-sided ordeal, but simply put, it is in fact multifaceted.
Despite the flick having an ominous reality-TV-feel, indicative of a celebrity dance-off show, The Biggest Loser and, less overtly, The Great Food Truck Race, the essence of the movie seems to bring home the fact that Babies are miracles, pregnancy can be a physical ordeal, and men and women aren’t always on the same page of the “relationship handbook.” This, however, is about as deep as it gets with this flick and overall the film delivers on many levels. The cast is sensational, the dialog is smart and witty and the movie is hilarious and emotional at the same time.
Notwithstanding the cheesy ending, I give the movie three and a half stars for overall entertainment content.
By Movie-Man Stan
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