What To Expect When You’re Expecting covers the usual tropes
Starring Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, and Jennifer Lopez. Rated PG. Opens Friday, May 18, at the Ridge Theatre
Just as you might expect, this prefab confection has roughly the same connection to its Kself-help roots as did 1972’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask. (Without the sheep, of course.) Everything about this jury-rigged ensemble effort screams, “Play it safe, baby!”
That said, English director Kirk Jones (and who knew Waking Ned Devine would be his “edgiest” effort?) did assemble a cast game enough to wring out whatever laughs and pathos they could locate in a by-the-numbers script by Shauna Cross and Heather Hach.
The couples include: Cameron Diaz and ,em>Glee’s Matthew Morrison as reality-TV stars who get preggers soon after hooking up; Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro as a photographer and musician trying to adopt; and Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone as a self-styled baby expert and her nebbishy husband. The cast standout is wry Falcone, and his character is double-whammied by a supercompetitive dad (Dennis Quaid) whose hot second wife (Brooklyn Decker) is even more pregnant than his.
The only stab at singledom here comes via Anna Kendrick, whose young fry cook is knocked up after one night with the hunkster (Chace Crawford) she’s crushed on since high school. She then tries to get rid of him, for no good reason except that the movie needs conflict. Other problems are invented along the way, and there’s one instance of cowardly dubbing (looks like the C word was dumped). Overall, things are weak enough to necessitate much screen time given to a stroller-happy geek chorus, including Chris Rock and Amir Talai, to comment on the dudely side of parenting.
The film makes glossy use of Atlanta locations, except when it side trips to Ethiopia (as played by South Africa)—presumably via Delta Airlines, judging from all the inescapable product placements. Only the newborns here come without brand names. But how long will that last?
Watch the trailer for What to Expect When You’re Expecting.