I’ll spare you the pregnancy and abortion puns and one-liners and instead start with a confession: I’ve been meaning to review What to Expect When You’re Expecting for a couple of weeks now, but just never actually made it to the point where I could will myself to put the complimentary screener I was given into my DVD player.
Why? Oh, so many reasons, really, but the biggest and most important one (and the one that you’ll care about) is that I had a very bad feeling about what was going unfold on the screen for me. Woe is me, for I was right.
There’s a trend in Hollywood of late to take best-selling self-help manuals and turn them into big budget movies with multi-star casts (i.e. He’s Just Not That Into You, Think Like a Man), and for the most part, the success of such efforts has been relatively good commercially if not artistically. The bottom falls out with What to Expect for more reasons that can be counted, though the primary one is that it doesn’t have anything to say, which is kinda shocking when one considers the mouths its given with which to say something: Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Dennis Quaid, and Chris Rock. Chris Rock! It doesn’t know what to do with any of them.
It also doesn’t help that the film feels like an overwrought sitcom: its basic premise is that pregnancy is life-changing (duh), women do not always enjoy pregnancy (duh, again), and men don’t know what to do with themselves when their wives are expecting or when they actually become fathers (see previous ‘duh’s). At certain points, it’s so bad that it reminded me of those godawful C-grade movies we had to watch in Health class about the dangers of teen pregnancy. The only difference is, we weren’t charge $13.50 for the displeasure.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting might yield the same result for the population at large. In the meantime, you’ll be giving thanks for you birth control prescription. Skip it!