The new ensemble film, “What to Expect When You are Expecting” appears to be a “chick flick” and the commercials for the product make it look pretty silly. However, this is a pretty good movie for couples, with or without children. Although it carries the same name, the movie has nothing to do with the popular self-help book with the same name. It is an ensemble comedy with some surprisingly touching moments throughout.
The movie weaves five stories about five expectant couples with various backgrounds. See if you can keep this straight: Evan (Matthew Morrison) is a dancer for the popular TV show, Celebrity Dance Factor. His partner on the latest season is Jules (Cameron Diaz), a TV weight-loss coach from the TV show, “Lose It and Weep.” They win, but Jules is taking home more than just a dancing trophy. Gary (Ben Falcone) is a former contestant on “Lose It and Weep.” He is married to Wendy (Elizabeth Banks), a successful author and business woman who knows everything there is to know about having a baby, but has never had one. Gary has a rivalry with his father, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) a rich and successful race car driver. With them, everything is a competition. Ramsey’s much younger trophy wife, Skyler (Brooklyn Decker), is also pregnant. Skyler has a cousin, Rosie (Anna Kendrick), who owns a food truck. Her former high school boyfriend, Marco (Chace Crawford) is now a food truck rival. Holly is a photographer for Skyler. She is married to Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) who are nervous about adopting a child from out of the country. Holly’s co-worker suggests that Alex join her husband’s “Dudes Group” for support.
“Expecting” touches on many topics that every couple can relate to including:
- What to name the child?
- Should you circumcise or not circumcise?
- Why do some women have an easier time during pregnancy than others?
- What if something bad happens during the pregnancy?
- What if your baby will grow up hating you?
- To breast feed or not to breast feed?
Ensemble movies tend to have a bad reputation for not being very good. I think this one is an exception. Each story is well planned with some great one-liners. While presenting some unrealistic scenarios, it actually does so in a fairly realistic way. The characters respond to situations like you think they would. And while it is definitely a comedy, there are a few dramatic moments as well, bound to strike a chord with the audience. Banks is the stand out here for her large range of comedy. Who knew she could be so funny and relatable? Lopez also makes an impression as a woman who feels less so because she can’t get pregnant.
“Expecting” is also a refreshing change from so many gross-out comedies filled with bad language and loose morals. Two stories feature pregnancies that occur outside of marriage and are unplanned, but abortion is never mentioned as an option and the characters talk about getting married to do “the right thing.” Marriage, family and children are valued in this movie.
Finally, the film features even more stars in cameo roles including Chris Rock, Joe Manganiello, Rob Huebel, Tom Lennon, Amir Talai, Rebel Wilson, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kim Fields (“Tootie” from the “Fact of Life”), Dwayne Wade, Whitney Port, Cheryl Cole, Tyce Diorio, Taboo and Megan Mullally.