Thursday, May 17, 2012


Carole Mallory

Review: What to Expect When You're Expecting -- To Be Bored

Elizabeth Banks steals this film and Brooklyn Decker proves she is more than a talking bikini. After a boring beginning, this film meanders through stories of five interconnected couples to a bang up ending. It is a tedious journey. Cameron Diaz comes in a close second to Banks while Chris Rock, featured in the commercials, is ho hum. A disappointment. Rock's fizzle is the fault of the writing that is dull and tries so hard. The film needed a jolt like a mad performance by Rock. Then there is Dennis Quaid, who looks haggard as opposed to aged. He does not supply the much-needed adrenaline, instead he overacts as a Nascar driver who is married to his trophy wife, a much younger Decker, and who is expecting twins.
Meanwhile Jennifer Lopez is charming, as usual, but gets lost in a sea of confusion of other pregnancies. She is infertile and adopts an Ethiopian baby, but with five women starring in this film, why isn't there a black woman? Correction: A black couple? For shame on the writers et al. This film cries for this. Chris Rock and an Ethiopian baby hardly make up for the absence of a real black couple who is expecting along with this crew. And it is a crew. It gets jumbled, and twisted, but it all works itself out in the delivery room. Anna Kendrick is her usual competent self, but is given a smaller part than the pregnant mamas. Pity we don't get to see and hear more of Kendrick. With so many couples, each with stories and then Kendrick thrown in to boot, there is a lot of plot to weave and it is not skillfully woven. One gets a bit of a migraine trying to follow this la -de-da-saga of pregnancy en masse.
We have: a weight loss instructor, Diaz ,who is an unwed mother who is pregnant by an instructor, Matthew Morrison , on a Dancing With The Stars type of show (Morrison should stick to TV); a photographer, Lopez, who is married to an advertising hubbie, Rodrigo Santoro; a boutique owner, Banks, who specializes in supplies for breast-feeding mothers; a bikini beauty, Decker, married to a race car driver, Quaid, whose son, Ben Falcone, a dentist, is married to Banks. Then there's Kendrick and a divine Chace Crawford, a couple who unexpectedly become pregnant after one quickie.
The 1984 bestselling book by Heidi Murkoff addresses the effects of pregnancy not only on the women but also on the couples' relationships. This witty novel shows its age at the hands of screenwriters Shauna Cross and Heather Hach, who have come up with a clichéd mélange of characters. Director Kirk Jones does little to add any depth to any of the stories. Yawns abound. Except in the finale, which somehow justifies the incompetence in this production. Don't run to this film, but if you do decide you want a peek-a- boo-look at group pregnancy, walk with caution.
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