For some reason, Hollywood thinks that it needs to cram in every famous person that it can in a movie that comes out every few months. One of the more famous ones is He’s Just Not That In To You, being followed up with the holiday pair of New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. The most recent iteration is based on the best-selling book of the same name: What To Expect When You’re Expecting.
I went into this movie not wanting to see it. I don’t like Cameron Diaz, and thought that it would be just as awful/disappointing as other star-saturated movies of its ilk. I almost hated it from the preview, thinking that somehow Chris Rock, Tom Lennon, and Rob Huebel were going to get me through it by appearing far too sparingly while I slog through J-Lo and Cameron being sappy for two long hours. You would think that from the preview that you have watched all the best parts of the movie, and you felt that you could write the end of the movie, and determine all character points from the scant parts played in the preview.
Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed this movie. There are 5 main story lines going at once, all involving beginning a family: a celebrity fling that met on a reality show, a married couple that has been trying to get pregnant for years, an old NASCAR driver and his trophy wife, a photographer and a jingle writer looking into adopting, and competing food truck cooks that have a one night stand. One of the things that worked best with this movie where all others of its type miss is that each of the story lines got exactly as much screen time as I wanted each of them to have. With He’s Just Not That In To You, I felt that Bradley Cooper and Scarlett Johansson got way more screen time than Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin got. As I mentioned before, I am not a Cameron Diaz fan, but her story line was interesting, so despite her being on the screen, I liked to watch her deal with an unexpected pregnancy that may interfere with her job.
I will say (without going into too much detail), my wife and I have been trying to have children for seven years and change (basically since we got married), so you should keep in mind that part of the reason that I liked this movie was because of how I feel about having children. That said the other thing that I liked about this movie was that there was just as much tragedy as there is levity. I will say that there is a couple that does deal with a miscarriage and another where the mom has complications in childbirth, to where you question if they are going to live through the birth. With expecting it to be syrupy sweet and obnoxious, I respected that there were moments of bitterness to keep the movie grounded in realism.
I did have a hard time with a few things, like the fact that sometimes the characters would make drastic and unjustified changes. Throughout the movie, there is a group of 4 dads that meet every Saturday and walk through the local park, and talk to a soon-to-be father about how hard and difficult being a father is, and even tell him that he shouldn’t have kids because that is the end of happiness, but near the end of the movie, they all take turns telling him how much they are truly and deeply happy and fulfilled being fathers. There are also times in which I felt that they were going a little too far to show the extremes in pregnancy. Case in point, the couple that was trying really hard to get pregnant for a few years finally decide that they are going to just have sex when they want instead of scheduling around an ovulation cycle, and celebrate by getting drunk one night and end up getting pregnant from that. Then, they also show a model pregnancy where the woman is having twins and never looks more pregnant than she would look if she was 7 months into a single baby pregnancy, wears heels, and talks about how much energy she has, and feels wonderful, while the woman who really wanted to get pregnant has a scene where she breaks down and talks about how horribly awful it is to be pregnant. Now, I am not even pretending to say that I know what it’s like to be pregnant, but the clichés were a little over the top, and didn’t feel fresh or funny in any way that I was going to appreciate. Then again, I would say that maybe some women who have experienced pregnancy will get the inside joke and laugh at the parts that I didn’t think were funny.
The movie is rated PG-13, mostly for subject matter (I mentioned that there was a miscarriage, and there is one character that is playing a bit on the perverted side), but there is an F-Bomb during one of the deliveries (to be expected). I could say that there may be some merit to taking an older teen to this movie, especially if they have a lot of “birds and bees” questions, as it does cover a lot of the difficult things with pregnancy, but the couple that gets pregnant from the one night stand do talk about getting an abortion, so it’s at your own peril if that’s a subject you don’t quite want to broach. I am going to give it 7 out of 10, mostly because as much as I did like the movie, I am not rushing out to see it again as I felt with The Avengers. I hope that fills you in on what to expect to expect from What To Expect When You’re Expecting.
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