Thursday, 31 May 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting: Movie Review

What To Expect When You're Expecting: Movie Review

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lopez, Genesis Rodriguez, Chace Crawford, Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Chris Rock

Director: Kirk Jones

16 million people have bought the book of the pregnancy help guide, and it's been a perennial New York Times best seller, so perhaps it was inevitable Hollywood would come a-knocking.

It's the story of five Atlanta couples who're in various stages of life but with babies on the mind - either accidentally or deliberately; there's Cameron Diaz's fitness expert Jules, who's secretly sleeping with Matthew Morrison's Evan as they dance their way around a celebrity dance show; there's J-Lo's Holly, a photographer who's about to adopt an African baby with scared silly father to be Alex (Santoro); there's Elizabeth Banks' Wendy, an expert on babies and motherhood who's been unable to conceive despite trying with her hubbie Gary (Ben Falcone) and there's his competitive father Ramsey, who's about to give birth with his young trophy wife (and Wendy's nemesis) Skyler (Decker). Throw into that mix, youngster Rosie (Kendrick) who finds herself pregnant after a one night stand with Chace Crawford's Marco and the baby mix is complete.

But, as ever in life there are trials and tribulations ahead - some of them good, some of them bad.

You should know what to expect with What To Expect When You're Expecting; essentially, it's another one of those relatively asinine, bland Hollywood ensembles which pitches at all demographics and pulls in all kinds of big names.

While it's exactly what you'd think they'd conceive for this kind of film and may have you wishing it'd gestated for another 9 months or so, there are some parts which will appeal to those wanting a film which is cheesy as and predictable.

Firstly, the Dudes Group, which proffers up a male point of view courtesy of Chris Rock and a trio of other dads, is actually funny and amusing. Along with a kid from the group which is accident prone, there's some laughs to be had. There'll probably be some men in the audience who'll be nodding their heads in agreement with their situations - if they're unfortunate enough to be dragged along to this.

Secondly, the cast is all relatively talented and brings a reasonable performance to the table; but especially watchable is Elizabeth Banks' character who, while going through an entirely predictable character arc as she becomes a mess of pregnancy hormones, manages to light up the screen with her turn.

The problem with What To Expect When You're Expecting is, I suspect,  more one of managing your own expectations.

If you want to see a film where life's problems are brought up and then summarily dismissed in a montage of moments or a quick trite solution then this is the film for you; it espouses such life lessons as "Pregnancy's not as dreamy as you've always imagined it to be" and "Becoming a parent can be quite scary, but is ultimately worth it" as it saunters on its way through a formula to its inevitably sentimental end.

Personally, though this film was so condescending and bland with such predictable humour, it made me want to grab the nearest umbilical cord and throttle it.


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