Stars: Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Kirk Jones
Showing: Southside Cinema week of Friday, June 1. For more information call 297-2821.
Runtime: 98 minutes
What to Expect When You're Expecting is a ‘Valentine's Day’ take on impending parenthood. Assorted couples cope with pregnancies, planned and unplanned, adoption and the epic change that is coming to their lives.
It's wafer-thin, but it has plenty of laughs - a lot of them involving pregnant women's bodily functions, the rest coming from Chris Rock, who unloads lots of daddy-to-be wisdom on one prospective father.
But what's surprising is how touching this film from the director of Waking Ned Devine manages to be. Kirk Jones and the screenwriters found real pathos in adapting the Heidi Murkoff self-help book, dubbed America's "pregnancy bible".
Elizabeth Banks plays Wendy, a self-help book author, a pregnancy "expert" who has never been able to get pregnant herself. Until now. And then her husband Gary’s (Ben Falcone) ex-race car driver dad (Dennis Quaid) and his trophy bride (Brooklyn Decker) one-up them. Father and mother-in-law are expecting twins.
Anna Kendrick is the food-truck chef whose one-night tumble with a high school flame (Chace Crawford), also a food-truck cook, put her in a family way.
Cameron Diaz is a super-fit TV fitness guru newly pregnant with her Celebrity Dance Factor partner (Matthew Morrison of TV's Glee). Sure, she found out she was pregnant by throwing up on live TV. But she figures as fit as she is, she can do this pregnancy thing in her spare time.
Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro are buying the house and prepping for an adoption. Santoro's Alex is the guy his wife sends to a "dudes group", daddies with toddlers who trundle their kids through the parks of Los Angeles. And that's where daddy Chris Rock presides.
He and his crew make a lot of death jokes about what life is like after a baby enters the house. And cracks about the man's loss of parity when there's an infant in tow.
In montages, couples visit obstetricians or explain their state of mind to friends or colleagues. Couples bicker and struggle to endure.
If Rock is the voice of comic wisdom in What to Expect, Banks is its heart. She brings pathos and humor to a character who is hell-bent on loving this circle of life thing, until she's overwhelmed.
The film is basically a light, superficial and frothy little romp through the pregnancy experience. It's choppy and episodic, and funny - especially when Rock, a veteran dad in real life, is holding court. But the overarching message is both moving and amusing.
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