Movie Review: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

IMDB, What to Expect when you're Expecting“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” on IMDB

Comedy, 110 Minutes, 2012

In the vein of “Parenthood” [IMDB] or “Love Actually” [IMDB] this movie follows a large cast of loosely connected people going through similar experiences; in this case, pregnancy.  While this doesn’t reach the quality of those films, it’s a respectable effort.

Across five couples the film tries to squeeze in every cliché about pregnancy.  There’s the couple that’s been trying forever; the new lovers getting a surprise; the couple that can’t have kids going through adoption proceedings; the power couple getting taken out of their element and so forth.  Some of the mothers thing they know what’s coming but are unpleasantly surprised while others seem completely unphased by the whole experience.

One of the recurring points of the movie is a group of dads, led by Chris Rock [IMDB], who meet in the park and discuss their lives.  They provide most of the comic relief (and Rock is always entertaining) but feel out of place – almost like the director decided to just squish two slightly-related movies together.  They also add significantly to the cast list making it very difficult for any specific characters to rise above their circumstances.

This becomes a problem for some of the characters as the stories move on: they simply languish becoming nothing more than backboards off which the script bounces the same tired gags.  Other characters are allowed to grow and develop (at least as much as their limited screen time allows).  To its credit the movie doesn’t shy away from some of the harsher realities of pregnancy and these moments are definite highlights.

I think that parents will probably get a little more out of this than others.  I’ll admit that I got caught up in a few scenes and even choked up once or twice.  I would also guess – considering my lovely bride’s reaction – that women may find this more engaging than men.  It’s a good movie but simply tries to squeeze too much in.  With a little pruning and a little more focus on how pregnancy actually changes relationships it might have been a great movie.

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