As expected, the formulaic romantic comedy, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, isn’t a film pregnant in originality. While it does have its share of amusing moments, thanks to some one-liners from actor/comedian Chris Rock, on the whole, its narrative is more on par with a sterile sitcom, than a quality feature film.
That being said, the film is well acted, and stars an ensemble cast, who form the film’s five couples in focus that are on the road to parenthood. The first couple we are introduced to are the bickering Jules (Cameron Diaz) and Evan (Matthew Morrison), who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant after getting romantically involved on a celebrity dance show. There are Holly (Jennifer Lopez), and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro), who are a loving couple that are finding it difficult to make ends meet, as well as conceive naturally, and end up looking to adopt a poverty-stricken baby from Africa. The youngest pair of the film are Marco (Chace Crawford) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick), a pair that work at competing food trucks, and become pregnant after they become partners in a one-night stand. The most interesting two couples of the film are also the only two that are directly linked: Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and Gary (Ben Falcone), and Gary’s NASCAR legend of a father Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), and his much younger wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker). Wendy, who runs the ‘Breast Choice’ boutique for pregnant mothers, and is an author on pregnancy, has her views on motherhood reformed when she herself becomes pregnant, and goes through amusingly fluctuating emotions. Meanwhile, her husband Gary, who is supportive of his wife, is shown to be resentful of his father for always being in competition with him. These fears of Gary are confirmed, after Ramsey steals the thunder of his son’s pregnancy news, by announcing that his own wife is pregnant with twins.
The movie is based on a popular bestseller with the same name, which functions as a guide for expecting mothers. At the cinema, to my horror, I was surrounded by women gleefully sharing their own pregnancy war stories during the viewing. Unsurprisingly, for those who are either parents themselves, or planning to get there soon, the film is tailor-made to milk sentiments.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, June 3rd, 2012.
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