Posted January 9, 2012 by Christa Ktorides in Films
 
 

What To Expect When You're Expecting


By – Christa Ktorides – Based on the New York Times

By – Christa Ktorides

Based on the New York Times
bestseller of the same name, What to Expect When You’re Expecting features a
who’s who of Hollywood actresses in varying states of distress during the
stages of pregnancy and adoption.

Elizabeth Banks (The
Hunger Games) and husband Ben Falcone
(Bridesmaids) are a couple who’ve been trying to have a child for two years. Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day) is a
pushy TV fitness instructor who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant to her
dance partner Matthew Morrison
(Glee) on a celebrity dance show. Anna
Kendrick
(Up in The Air) and Chace
Crawford
(Gossip Girl) have a shock when their one night stand results in
pregnancy and Jennifer Lopez (The
Back-Up Plan) is a photographer embarking on the process of adopting a child
from Africa with her less enthusiastic but loving husband Rodrigo Santoro (300).

What
we have here is a multi-story, starry compendium in the vein of New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. Anyone who responded well to those
saccharine-dipped films will no doubt be equally enamoured with What to Expect
When You’re Expecting.

Director
Kirk Jones attempts to manfully
juggle his enormous cast which also includes the likes of Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock,
Brooklyn Decker and Bridesmaid’s Rebel Wilson, but fails at making us
really care about our many couples. Diaz in particular is a dreadful, pushy
individual and Morrison is given nothing to do but disagree with her on almost
every matter concerning their child. Kendrick is sweet but unfair towards the
well meaning Crawford who has a screen presence that is wasted here and Lopez
proves once again that she should ditch the singing and concentrate on her film
career as she and Santoro have an easy charm and chemistry despite their poorly
drawn characters.

Only
Banks and Falcone truly have our attention as the couple whose experience isn’t
quite the glowing and beautiful nine months they had been led to believe.
Falcone’s strained relationship with his obnoxious racing car driver father
(Quaid has a riot in the role) plays a big part in the story line and with his
perfect trophy wife (Decker displaying some impressive comic timing) also
pregnant and having the dream experience Banks also displays feelings of
inadequacy. An amusing onstage breakdown where she lays out all the grim
aspects of expecting is brilliant and cements the true shame of this film –
that it isn’t just about Banks and Falcone.

There
are several ill-judged attempts at humour with a mostly irritating group of
father’s including Rock (another waste of a usually great performer), Rob Huebel (The Descendants) and Thomas
Lennon (17 Again) who meet daily in the local park to offer Santora advice on
becoming a father. There’s a running gag involving Rock’s clumsy, accident
prone child that serves only to prove that he’s probably the worst person to be
giving parenting advice to anyone.

Uneven
in tone and with too many couples to really care much about, What to Expect
When You’re Expecting is another schmaltz-fest that can’t decide if it wants to
be funny or touching. The vastly superior Knocked
Up
achieved just that. Still, it is somewhat redeemed by the ever-brilliant
Elizabeth Banks who walks away with the film and nabs the lions share of the
laughs.


Christa Ktorides