A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and ultimately coming to understand the universal truth that no matter what you plan for, life doesn't always deliver what's expected.
Release Year: 2012
Rating: 4.6/10 (451 voted)
Critic's Score: 43/100
Stars: Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, J. Todd Smith
Storyline Inspired by the perennial New York Times bestseller of the same name, 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...
Writers: Shauna Cross, Heather Hach
Cast: Cameron Diaz
Based on the popular series of pregnancy guides by the same name with more than 14.5 million books sold through 2011.
I just wanted the glow. The one that they promise you on the cover of those magazines. Well, I'm calling it - pregnancy sucks. Making a human being is really hard. I have no control over my body or my emotions.
No great expectations from this pregnant pause
It's "New Year's Eve" in the neo-natal unit; "Valentine's Day" with a
uterus; "Knocked Up" times five. Unfortunately, that's about the best I
can about this film featuring the ups and downs of having a baby.
In an attempt to jump on the multi-story, large cast bandwagon,
director Kirk Jones (the charming "Waking Ted Devine," the horrid
"Nanny McPhee") - with the assistance of writers Shauna Cross and
Heather Hach ("Freaky Friday") - give us a few sparkling comedic
moments, only to ruin it all with depressing dramatic letdowns and
cinema's most predictable conclusion.
Then again, some of the heavier scenes are actually more
(unintentionally) hilarious than the lighter ones. And while there is
nothing unusual about comedies with dramatic overtones, this movie is
all over the map, going from pure joy in some sequences to outright
horror and heartbreaking grief in the next one.
Like "Hamlet," the movie suffers from an inability to make up its mind.
With a cast featuring Elizabeth Banks ("The 40-Year Old Virgin," "Man
On a Ledge"), Cameron Diaz ("Something About Mary," "Killers"), Dennis
Quaid ("Cheaper By the Dozen," "The Express"), Jennifer Lopez ("The
Back-Up Plan"), Chris Rock ("Death At a Funeral"), Ben Falcone
("Bridesmaids"), Brooklyn Decker ("Just Go With It"), Wendi
McLendon-Covey ("Bridesmaids," "Reno: 911" TV series), Rebel Wilson
("Ghost Rider," "Bridesmaids"), Anna Kendrick ("50/50," "Scott Pilgrim
vs. the World"), Rob Huebel ("I Love You, Man") and Thomas Lennon ("Hot
Tub Time Machine"), among others, one figures the humor quotient would
rate high in this endeavor.
One would mostly be wrong.
Plot has five Atlanta couples, Evan (Matthew Morrison, "Glee" TV
series) and Jules (Diaz); Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, "Post Grad") and Holly
(Lopez); Ramsey (Quaid) and Skyler (Decker); Gary (Falcone) and Wendy
(Banks); and Marco (Chace Crawford, "Gossip Girls" TV series) and Rosie
(Kendrick), all of whom are in various stages of pregnancy and/or child
Evan and Jules have hooked up while involved on the show, "Celebrity
Dance Factor," (she throws up on live television after the final
episode), and now constantly bicker about whether or not to circumcise
the baby boy-to-be.
Gary, who was on a fat-loss TV show and children's author Wendy are now
expecting after years of trying, but also discover that Gary's
neglectful, NASCAR driver father, Ramsey, and his young wife are going
to have twins. The sad-sack, whimpy, whining son is one-upped by the
old man - again.
Ad man Alex and professional photographer Holly are looking to adopt an
Ethiopian newborn; while Marco and Rosie, who work in competitive food
trucks, have a one-night stand. Somehow, all of these characters end up
connected with each other, no matter how far-fetched these situations
And for couples having their first children, there is little chemistry
or real love exhibited herewithin. The emotional depth is as shallow as
a saucer and just as inconsequential.
Most of the yuks here are from Wendy, who wanted "the glow" of
pregnancy, but discovers the aches, pains and uncontrollable bodily
functions are paramount (her "mother-in-law," however, seems to have no
trouble, at all). A few more - rather uncomfortable - laughs are
solicited from Janice (Wilson), Wendy's idiot assistant (who honestly
gets more snickers due to her weight than her jokes, sad to say).
The movie's worst crime, though, is Alex's association with a group of
depressing new dads, including Rock, Huebel and Lennon, who meet at a
park each day and spout unwanted and unnecessary advice to him about
being a father. Few of these scenes are funny and a running gag of one
of the men's children tripping, falling and being hit in the head with
full beer cans, is simply dreadful.
A herky-jerky film which lacks a fluid, coherent story, as well as any
semblance of pacing, aborts what could have been a much better movie
and will certainly give many viewers sympathy and - most likely - labor
pains for its 110-minute running time.