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Exactly what I expected

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What to Expect When You're Expecting' cliched and contrived

I've learned to be leery of films that trumpet their all-star casts. These ensemble rom-coms (they're always rom-coms unless Stallone is involved, anyway) feature more name talents than you can count on both hands, but they also run the danger of having too much of a good thing. The tendency with big-name casts is to try desperately to get everyone as much screen time as possible. This leads to multiple storylines with forced connections between them featuring a whole mess of characters that we as an audience simply don't have time to care about.

This leads to 'What to Expect When You're Expecting.'

Ostensibly based on the 1984 pregnancy advice book of the same name, the movie follows a number of couples as they feel their respective ways through the minefield that is pregnancy. There's Wendy (Elizabeth Banks, 'The Hunger Games') and Gary (Ben Falcone, 'Bridesmaids'), a couple that finally gets pregnant after years of trying. Celebrity trainer Jules (Cameron Diaz, 'Bad Teacher') met Evan (Matthew Morrison, TV's 'Glee') on a reality dance competition and wound up pregnant. Holly (Jennifer Lopez, 'The Back-Up Plan') and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, 'Rio') can't conceive, so they're going through the adoption process.

You've also got the twentysomethings Rosie (Anna Kendrick, '50/50') and Marco (Chace Crawford, TV's 'Gossip Girl') who wind up pregnant after a one-night stand. Gary's NASCAR legend father Ramsey (Dennis Quaid, 'Footloose') even gets in on the act when he knocks up trophy second wife Skylar (Brooklyn Decker, 'Battleship').

You might notice that I've not yet mentioned the 'dads group' that features so prominently in the film's trailers. It's a solid comedic group led by Chris Rock ('Grown Ups') and featuring comic stalwarts such as Thomas Lennon ('What's Your Number?') and Rob Huebel ('The Descendants'). So why is this group getting short shrift? Because they're barely in the movie. Their prominence in the previews is a transparent attempt to lure a more male demographic into the theater or at least to make that male demographic feel better about being dragged to a movie that's all about pregnancy.

Because make no mistake that is all this movie is about. It is about being pregnant. Everything that is said, done or implied in this movie has some connection to babymaking. I could break down the plot for you, but you already know it; each of these couples endures a series of ups and downs over the course of their pregnancy experience. Then the babies happen. The end.

As is usual with these sorts of films, the multiple storylines are brought together. Well 'jammed together' is probably more apt. 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' is a series of clichs forced together through unbelievable contrivances; the crossover relationships between the couples all have a false ring to them. Not to mention how silly most of it seems.

The filmmakers might land an occasional laugh here or there even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while but most of this movie falls flat. The characters aren't likable, the circumstances aren't realistic and the whole thing feels over-processed.

So what should you expect? Not much.

Last modified on Sunday, 07 January 2018 13:24

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