Review: What to Expect When You're Expecting
PLOT: Five couples experience the joy, as well as the pitfalls (not to mention pratfalls) of having a baby.
REVIEW: WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOURE EXPECTING is another one of those rom-com omnibus films where, rather than focus on one of two attractive pairings of variably popular celebs, we get a whole slew. The result is probably supposed to be some kind of killer, MEGA-rom com- but more often than not this approach backfires (need I remind any of you of the one-two punch of suck that was VALENTINES DAY & NEW YEARS EVE?).
Luckily, Gary Marshall sits this one out (thank God for small miracles), with Kirk Jones, director of the charming WAKING NED DEVINE (along with the much crappier EVERYBODYS FINE) taking the helm. At least, the idea of connecting couples through a theme, rather than a stupid holiday works a little better- but even still, dont expect much from EXPECTING (ey-oh!).
Like most films of this ilk, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOURE EXPECTING runs the gamut of passable to downright atrocious, depending on which of the power couples were watching. When the film is centered on Elizabeth Banks, whos talented enough to at least wring some laughs out of the premise, as a baby-product guru pregnant for the first time- its not all that bad. Banks is great, and I also enjoyed Ben Falcone (who played real-life wife Melissa McCarthys airplane fling in BRIDESMAIDS) as her nice guy husband. But- Falcones b-story, involving his rivalry with his dad Dennis Quaid, whos just gotten his much-younger wife (Brooklyn Decker), preggers is far less successful. Decker seems game, but comedys never really been a good fit for Quaid, and he never quite hits the same notes as Ed ONeil does in his similar part on MODERN FAMILY (any episode of which is infinitely better than this).
The other time the film almost works in one it focuses on Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford, as good-looking twenty-somethings who get pregnant after a one-night stand, and have to decide if theyre a good match. Of all the storylines, this is the only one that doesnt completely go the obvious route, although it gets short shrift in favor of the other, more-starpacked stories- which is a shame.
The rest of the stories, from Cameron Diaz hooking up on a reality dancing show with Matthew Morrison, to Jennifer Lopez and her husband Rodrigo Santoro (300) trying to adopt a baby from Ethiopia, run the familiar rom-com course. Gee- Diaz and Morrison cant stop arguing; think theyll sort it out in time for the baby??? Can Santoro man up and be a dad??? The answers to both are obvious, although Santoros storyline at least introduces the Dudes Group of fathers run by Chris Rock- who, again, isnt too funny when diluted to PG-13.
I guess the best thing I can say about WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOURE EXPECTING is that compared to NEW YEARS EVE; its not that bad- which is faint praise. Like THINK LIKE A MAN, also inspired by a popular self-help book, EXPECTING will probably work for its built in audience, but theres nothing here to distinguish it in any way.