What To Expect When You’re Expecting (2 stars)

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

A witless and bland work based on the pregnancy self-help book

‘You don’t know what love is until you’ve wiped someone’s ass,’ offers one of the many baby-boomers in Kirk Jones’ (Waking Ned, Everybody’s Fine) multi-stranded adaptation of the bestselling self-help book about the dos and don’ts of pregnancy. Concocting plot-strands to illustrate the book’s educational advice presents an ideal opportunity for a studio blandfest, and What To Expect When You’re Expecting's philosophy provides an unappetizing fusion of broody sentiment and mild scatology.

Featuring five Atlanta-based couples facing up to the realities of child-bearing, the main storylines feature Cameron Diaz as a reality TV star Jules, Jennifer Lopez as Holly, a sea-life photographer who decides to adopt an African child, and Elizabeth Banks as Wendy, a breast-milk evangelist who fears being overshadowed by her mother-in-law’s pregnancy by playboy race car driver Ramsey (Dennis Quaid). The most affecting strand is that concerning fast-food operative Rosie (Twilight’s Anna Kendrick) whose unplanned pregnancy is so heavily foreshadowed that it’s clear things will go wrong within the first half-hour. In a film which offers such an absurdly sanitized version of motherhood, it’s Rosie’s bittersweet tale that offers the film’s only touch of subtlety or realism.

Otherwise, Jones’s film is just a glossy soap-opera, with vapid dilemmas about circumcision and parental responsibilities raised and then dismissed without interest. Particularly grating is the introduction of the ‘dudes’ group’, a group of new fathers who march with their strollers around a public park, led by Chris Rock, dispensing sub-sitcom repartee about expensive college fees and vaginal rejuvenation.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting is the kind of witless schmatz-fest that gives women’s pictures a bad name; dodging all the difficult questions about modern pregnancy, it offers the kind of safe, antiseptic drama that only a Stepford wife might enjoy.

General release from Wed 25 May.

What To Expect When You're Expecting Trailer

What to Expect When You're Expecting

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 1h 49min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Kirk Jones
  • Written by: Shauna Cross, Heather Hatch
  • Cast: Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid
  • UK release: 23 May 2012

Based on the New York Times best seller of the same name, this comedy focuses on five couples about to have children. Celebrity couple Jules and Evan, author Wendy and her husband Gary and potential adopters Holly and Alex are among the pairs whose lives intertwine on the road to parenthood.

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