What To Expect When You’re Expecting
Much like Love Actually and Valentines Day, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, directed by newbie director Kirk Jones, is another comedy following along familiar lines, taking one premise and running with it through the eyes of four or five different character-arcs. This time round, we focus on babies and the miracle of childbirth. As it is established pretty early on that the climax of the film will consist of a lot of screaming, whining and those ever-familiar baby “ahhs”, it is imperative that the narratives of each story are engaging and funny enough to keep the audience entertained until then. So could a star-studded cast keep it all together?
Based on the New York Times’ bestselling book of the same name, we are introduced to five very different couples who all have to learn to adjust their lives to the impending reality of parenthood. Celebrity couple Jules (Cameron Diaz) and Evan (Matthew Morrison) have found love after working together on a reality dance show; Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) are hoping to adopt a baby from Ethiopia; Gary (Ben Falcone) has to try and deal with his very hormonal and emotional wife Wendy (Elizabeth Banks); Marco (Chace Crawford) has just found out his old high-school friend Rosie (Anna Kendrick) is pregnant after a one-night stand; and former NASCAR driver Ramsey Cooper (Dennis Quaid) provides much of the comedy as his trophy-wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) waits for birth with surprisingly little discomfort…
The situations and dilemma many of the couples find themselves in throughout the course of the film have been frequently relayed. A running joke sees a little boy being consistently clumsy which is reminiscent of films such as Daddy Day Care or Cheaper By The Dozen, and the idea that the man (not the woman) is the one that falls apart during pregnancy may have been stretched a bit too far.
The key for a film of this genre is that is has to be funny for it to work, or at least humorous enough, for the audience to remain engaged for the 110 minutes of running time… To allow some credit, I laughed roughly half a dozen times. However, I should have laughed a lot more. Much of the sentimentality went over my head but with a cinema majority of 30-something women, the film was playing to its desired crowd.
A secondary narrative that sees Alex and Gary hoping to join a group of fathers headed by Vic (Chris Rock) adds to the humour but seems unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. So, what can you expect? Well, Kirk Jones’ fourth major picture is light on its feet but heavy in its demeanor. The risk of What To Expect When You’re Expecting falling flat was high, but the steady stream of jokes, some brilliant performances from Dennis Quaid and a very eccentric Elizabeth Banks keep it all firmly in tact, in time for a very emotional climax. Tissues at the ready girls!
Catch the trailer for What to Expect When You’re Expecting here: