‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ — All fun and babies…kind of

What to Expect When You’re Expecting, based on the legendary guide to pregnancy, is one half pregnant blondes, one fourth dad support group (aka ‘The Dudes’), and one fourth Joe Manganiello looking good (as usual). That said, the film was much better than I expected, mostly due to it’s awesome cast and ability to juggle multiple story lines while keeping a satisfying rhythm.

Following in the tradition of Love Actually (2003) and Valentine’s Day (2010), What to Expect interweaves multiple story lines (all somehow connected).  The audience bares witness to the experiences of five women as they become mothers.  First, there’s weight-loss celebrity coach Jules (Cameron Diaz) who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant after falling in love with her dance partner on ‘Celebrity Dance Factor’, Evan (Matthew Morrison).  Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison make for a sweet couple, and their story line is interesting enough, but they’re definitely the weakest couple of the bunch.

The other two pregnant blondes in the film are Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and her stepmother-in-law Skyler (Brooklyn Decker), who are married to Gary (the great Ben Falcone) and his father, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), respectively.  Luckily, their husbands took somewhat of a backseat, leaving Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker plenty of screen time together.  The two of them were fantastic! I was extremely curious to finally see Brooklyn Decker act (I know her best from Victoria’s Secret commercials), and I left the theater very impressed.  She was natural and fun; she wasn’t afraid to make fun of herself.  And she made the role of Skyler endearing (even though she was the pregnant woman we were supposed to hate for not getting fat).  I’m excited to see what she does in the future.  After all, holding your own with the fabulous and hilarious Elizabeth Banks is no small feat!

Finally, non-blonde, Holly (Jennifer Lopez), is anxiously awaiting a baby via adoption with her husband, Alex (Love Actually alum, Rodrigo Santoro).  Jennifer Lopez is charming, making me think she should come back to the rom-com scene (The Wedding Planner sequel, anyone?).  And it’s through Alex that we meet ‘The Dudes’, a group of dads who meet up every Saturday for a walk in the park with their kids. 

Made up of Chris Rock, Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, and Amir Talai (with special guest appearances by non-dad played by Joe Manganiello), ‘The Dudes’ are a nice addition to the female-heavy cast.  However, it felt like a cheap marketing ploy used to lure men into the theaters.  No matter how much I love Chris Rock, I cannot get 100% behind this for the simple reason that it’s ridiculous.  I hate to limit people to specific gender roles, but, seriously?  Creating a ‘Dudes’-heavy trailer is not going to trick guys into buying tickets to a move about pregnancy, let alone one called What to Expect When You’re Expecting

The film also takes the time to acknowledge pregnancy of a more unconventional nature with Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chace Crawford), who find themselves expecting after a one-night-stand.  They provide the boy meets girl/boy falls for girl/boy loses girl (etc) story line, which is extremely charming and fun to watch.  Their story takes an extremely sad turn when Rosie suffered a miscarriage early in her pregnancy and became closed off from Marco.  I want to make clear that I truly do appreciate this story line, and Anna Kendrick (amazing, as always), gives a heartbreaking performance.  However, I do find it very predictable that the only couple to suffer a miscarriage is the young, unattached one.  Perhaps this is just a coincidence, but, I would find that extremely hard to believe.  Adding to my annoyance is the fact that the film gives no the reason for the miscarriage, making me wonder just how much the screenwriters really cared about the storyline.  To be fair, there is only so much one can do with limited screen time, and, with so many characters to explore, it’s only natural that some would be left less developed than others.

If I had to pick one story to be expanded into it’s own film, it would be the story of Rosie and Marco.  Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford had great chemistry, and their scenes were very fun to watch.  They definitely have romantic comedy written all over them, and I hope they work together again!  One thing’s for sure, it would be a huge step up for Chace Crawford, who has been stuck playing bland, golden-boy Nate on Gossip Girl since 2007.  Hopefully audiences will realize that he can be more than a wonderful piece of man-candy, he can be funny and endearing too.

Bottom line: Go see What to Expect When You’re Expecting if you want to see a chick-flick about having babies! Otherwise, skip it.  Summer has only just started, and there are sure to be better films coming soon (I hope).

Did you see What to Expect When You’re Expecting?  If so, who was your favorite character/what was your favorite story line?  Are you sick of the multiple stories style yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, so don’t be shy!

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