Critics will trash this film, audiences will make it a summer hit. What to Expect When You’re Expecting delivers exactly what you expect. Heidi Murkoff wrote the same-titled pregnancy manual 28 years ago. Hollywood has apparently decided the masses are ready to laugh at the terrifying side effects of being preggers. Stuff like uncontrollable flatulence, leaky pee valve, hormonal roller coasters and all the other truths behind the “pregnancy glow” myth. In the standard screenplay story arc, five couple’s lives intersect as they find their way through the fears and joys of new parenthood. This candidate for “straight to video” saves itself from obscurity by rounding up a gang of actors that had openings in their schedule. The box office sure bets include Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Dennis Quaid, and Chris Rock. Our couples are predictably attractive and well off, or attractive, incredibly talented and struggling. Pregnancies are surprisingly planned and unplanned. Some couples are married and there’s even a cross-racial adoption. The only disappointment is they’re all hetero. Ever heard of Modern Family? Middle America is ready.
Chris Rock and his dad dudes roll in the park every Saturday with their manly strollers and Baby Björns. I’m still trying to figure out what’s so funny about the running joke of an unsupervised accident prone toddler in their posse. To be fair, there were lots of foot stomping laughs from the audience until the gasps of horror at the last pratfall.
Luckily for the moms and social services, all confessions of lax parenting are strictly kept in the man code vault. Loved the hapless husband constantly upstaged by his wealthy and competitive dad whose beautiful trophy wife never breaks a sweat in her six-inch heels. She’s a mommy unicorn. Two of our Type A working moms are punished for thinking they can carry on as normal. One woman has to resign herself to bed rest while the other breaks down in the middle of a speech on the joys of motherhood. The speech is a great confessional gob of embarrassing pregnancy goo that your frenemies would never tell you..
As a lifetime card-carrying female I feel obligated to rant a bit about our culture’s love of happy endings. Hollywood reinforces almost every plot with a metaphorical cherry on top. WTEWE= pregnancy sucks, don’t fall for the parenthood trap, oh, and it’s the only thing that makes life worth living. Huh?