It's "New Year's Eve" in the neo-natal unit; "Valentine's Day" with a uterus; "Knocked Up" times five. Unfortunately, that's about the best I can write about this film featuring the ups and downs of having a baby.
In an attempt to jump on the multi-story, large cast bandwagon, director Kirk Jones (the charming "Waking Ted Devine," the horrid "Nanny McPhee") - with the assistance of writers Shauna Cross and Heather Hach ("Freaky Friday") - give us a few sparkling comedic moments, only to ruin it all with depressing dramatic letdowns and cinema's most predictable conclusion.
Then again, some of the heavier scenes are actually more (unintentionally) hilarious than the lighter ones. And while there is nothing unusual about comedies with dramatic overtones, this movie is all over the map, going from pure joy in some sequences to outright horror and heartbreaking grief in the next one.
Like "Hamlet," the movie suffers from an inability to make up its mind.
With a cast featuring Elizabeth Banks ("The 40-Year Old Virgin," "Man On a Ledge"), Cameron Diaz ("Something About Mary," "Killers"), Dennis Quaid ("Cheaper By the Dozen," "The Express"), Jennifer Lopez ("The Back-Up Plan"), Chris Rock ("Death At a Funeral"), Ben Falcone ("Bridesmaids"), Brooklyn Decker ("Just Go With It"), Wendi McLendon-Covey ("Bridesmaids," "Reno: 911" TV series), Rebel Wilson ("Ghost Rider," "Bridesmaids"), Anna Kendrick ("50/50," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"), Rob Huebel ("I Love You, Man") and Thomas Lennon ("Hot Tub Time Machine"), among others, one figures the humor quotient would rate high in this endeavor.
One would mostly be wrong, however.
Plot has five Atlanta couples: Evan (Matthew Morrison, "Glee" TV series) and Jules (Diaz); Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, "Post Grad") and Holly (Lopez); Ramsey (Quaid) and Skyler (Decker); Gary (Falcone) and Wendy (Banks); and Marco (Chace Crawford, "Gossip Girls" TV series) and Rosie (Kendrick), all of whom are in various stages of pregnancy and/or child expectations.
Evan and Jules have hooked up while involved on the show, "Celebrity Dance Factor," (she throws up on live television after the final episode), and now constantly bicker about whether or not to circumcise the baby boy-to-be.
Gary, who was on a fat-loss TV show, and children's author Wendy are now expecting after years of trying; but also discover that Gary's neglectful, NASCAR driver father, Ramsey, and his young wife are going to have twins. The sad-sack, wimpy, whining son is one-upped by the old man - again.
Ad man Alex and professional photographer Holly are looking to adopt an Ethiopian newborn; while Marco and Rosie - who work in competitive food trucks - have a one-night stand. Somehow, all of these characters end up connected with each other, no matter how far-fetched these situations become.
And for couples having their first children, there is little chemistry or real love exhibited herewithin. The emotional depth is as shallow as a saucer and just as inconsequential.
Most of the yuks here are from Wendy, who wanted "the glow" of pregnancy, but discovers the aches, pains and uncontrollable bodily functions are paramount (her "mother-in-law," however, seems to have no trouble, at all).
A few more - rather uncomfortable - laughs are solicited from Janice (Wilson), Wendy's idiot assistant (who honestly gets more snickers due to her weight than her jokes, sad to say).
The movie's worst crime, though, is Alex's association with a group of depressing new dads, including Rock, Huebel and Lennon, who meet at a park each day and spout unwanted and unnecessary advice to him about being a father.
Few of these scenes are funny - and a running gag of one of the men's children tripping, falling and being hit in the head with full beer cans - is simply dreadful.
A herky-jerky film which lacks a fluid, coherent story, as well as any semblance of pacing, aborts what could have been a much better movie and will certainly give many viewers sympathy and - most likely - labor pains for its 110-minute running time.
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Comedy / Drama
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Comedy / Drama
Inspired by the perennial New York Times bestseller of the same name, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING is a hilarious and heartfelt big screen comedy about five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood. Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don't stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy's husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who's expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn't so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a "dudes" support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco's surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date? A kaleidoscopic comedy as universal as it is unpredictable, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING finds humor and uplift in all the unexpected trials and triumphs of welcoming a child into the world.
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August 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm