What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Film Review by Christie Hudon

Book adaptations don’t usually come from source material like how to guides-especially when it comes to a topic like pregnancy.  How the writers came up with the idea to create a romantic comedy sorta chick flick is beyond me.  Suffice to say it’s entertaining.  Especially if you’re, well, expecting (or at least thinking about becoming a parent).  The film feels a bit like a Love Actually or New Year’s Eve celebrity cramming misadventure, with headliners Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Elizabeth Banks all sporting babies.

Be forewarned-just because you read romantic comedy and see a jam-packed A-list cast, this is not a date movie.  Unless you’re way past the puppy dog stage there are things this film brings up that single people just don’t need to think about.  But if you’re like me and half your friends are swelling with pride, this flick is laugh out loud hilarious.

What to Expect weaves the stories of practicing and would be parents so seamlessly, you forget it isn’t based on a Nora Ephron novel.  The relationships are varied-only half the couples expecting are married and the circumstances of each pair allow you to see the realistic mess that every pregnancy is different.  Having never given birth, I can only imagine that those who’ve labored will want to smack the girl who births twins with a sneeze.  Slap-stick at times, What to Expect also has more than its fair share of farcical moments that can take away from the miracle of life and strangely add to it as well.

The guys in this movie often steal the show as they struggle to deal with their baby mama counterparts.  That’s where the dudes group becomes one of the best parts of the movie.  When we’re first introduced to the dad pack, the movie really starts picking up.  Guys getting together to chill with babies strapped to their chests and strollers as their hot rods makes for a not-so-average comedy moment-especially with Chris Rock as the lead.  Stereotyped?  Somewhat.  Funny?  Don’t drink until the scene is over.

Aside from the corny moments the filmmakers seemed to feel were necessary, What to Expect is one part drama, two parts raunchy and three parts comedy.  At times, the comedy and drama switch so fast you’re caught off guard.  A fair dousing of language and sexuality are present throughout the film but somehow it still manages to feel pretty clean.  After all, how racy can you get with five guys walking strollers and talking about minivans?

Overall, the movie succeeds with a heart-warming message of love and the importance of family.  Some tender moments may evoke a few tears, though the dudes will never admit it.  The movie will resonate more if you have been a part of the baby process or are at least around those who have.  This atypical romantic comedy brings humor to a unique topic in a story that is both irreverent and respectful to the miracle that is birth.

Christie Hudon is not sure what to expect or when to expect it but will keep writing film reviews if and when it happens.  She is a creative writing and reading teacher to hormonally challenged middle schoolers and works as a freelance writer and editor.