Get out your babies, we're reviewing What to Expect When Expecting!
I wasn't expecting much(AHAHAHA) from this. Oh man, another romantic comedy? With babies? And it's an ensemble movie with a huge cast? That doesn't sound good at all. But I'm glad I was dragged to it as I really enjoyed it! I'd say it's almost as good as Knocked Up(or better depending on how big a Katherine Heigl fan you are.)
What to Expect follows five couples as they go through the process of acquiring children. Jules(Cameron Diaz) and Evan(Matthew Morrison) are two celebrities having a baby after fooling around on a dance show. Wendy(Elizabeth Banks) and Garry(Ben Falcone) have been trying for a couple of years. Holly(Jennifer Lopez) and Alex(Rodrigo Santoro) want to adopt a kid from a third world country. Ramsey(Dennis Quaid) is Gary's father, and he's enjoying himself with his young wife Skylar(Brooklyn Decker). Rosie(Anna Kendrick) and Marco(Chace Crawford) are two kids who have competing food trucks and hook up one time. Soon, BABIES EVERYWHERE!
This has a HUGE cast. Along with the stars, there's also Chris Rock, Joe Manganiello, Thomas Lenon and Wendi McLendon-Covey(as a couple!)! And what's more, they're all funny characters and all entertaining. It's great how each have their own separate stories with their own needs and struggles and are all equally entertaining and complex characters. There's no one that isn't great in this. I thought Ben Falcone was silly in Bridesmaids, but here he's really come into his own with a funny character and an emotional story arc. Chris Rock is just as funny as he ever was. I was surprised how much I liked J Lo and how well she played her part. I'm glad Matthew Morrison can play more than just WIll Shoester, and it's crazy how buff Cameron Diaz looks. Elizabeth Banks is incredibly entertaining when she's in constant pain. Probably my favorite is Dennis Quaid whose just having so much fun in his role as a retired race car driver throwing money around.
Obviously as I've never been married or had a child I can't speak to how realistic their portrayals of pregnancy and childhood are, but I do like how varied each of the stories are. Wendy gets all the worst parts of being pregnant, but she has to keep up appearances for her store while her sort-of mother-in-law Skylar has a perfect pregnancy. Rodrigo is trying to not freak out about becoming a dad while Gary is just trying not to compete with his father. I think it's especially great with Wendy's breakdown of "being Pregnant sucks".
I love the moments the dads have with their little guy club. They're joking is reminiscent from the kind of back and forth humor of 40-year-old virgin. But Rebel Wilson and Elizabeth Banks are just as funny as they run their breast-feeding store "The Breast choice". There's even some rather serious moments I wasn't expecting, especially Rosie and Marco's story. I liked the story arc, no spoilers, but it kind of didn't match up with the others and ended strangely. It was definitely random, "Oh hey, it's the end of the movie, so I guess we should get back together."
I really love how all of them are interconnected and all the little transitions and parallels they have. As one character opens a door, another character will walk through another door. I'd kind of like to watch it again just to see all the different transitions. It's the perfect ensemble movie as all the characters get enough screen time and they're all entertaining. It's all really well put-together and nicely paced. There wasn't one area in which I was bored or assaulted by awkwardness. The third act does seem to take forever, but it doesn't feel overly drawn out with 1000 endings, it's just a weird feeling. It's still entertaining, but all of the main characters have had their emotional climax and only then do they still have to go through the act of actually having the babies, making it feel longer that it should.
I also find it hilarious how they go through all of the births and then the go through the adoption ceremony. They have to travel the world and light a candle instead of going through tons of pain and frustration? Yeah that sounds like the ticket, sign me up for that!
It's a really funny, fun and entertaining movie overall, and I would watch it again. It's one of the better preggers romantic comedies(Preggers comedies? Is that a thing now?), and much better than Bridesmaids or Friends with Kids. I almost think it's better than Knocked Up, because it doesn't have Katherine Heigl and it shows a bunch of different story arcs rather than just one.
THE GOOD: Huge and great cast, funny, nice varied look at pregnancy, great transitions between stories, complex and funny characters, have some real emotional moments.
THE BAD: one story doesn't match up with the others exactly, the third act is kind of long
THE VERDICT: $$$$ See it! It's a funny and you'll be thoroughly entertained throughout. Not that it has any big budget effects that you need to see in theaters, but it's worth the price of admission and better than most of the other stuff that's out there. Except Avengers of course.
MOVIES LIKE IT: Knocked Up, Friends with Kids, Bridesmaids, 5 Year Engagement, Juno
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Skylar is seen as the dainty little princess who's perfect in every way and always gets everything she wants. It's kind of assumed she's just this ditzy girl who married this race car driver for his money and he for her looks. But when Ramsey is degrading his son Gary in front of friends, she steps up and yells at him to make things right. it's this unexpected tender moment that proves she's more than just a pretty face and their marriage has more to it than just surface value. You don't think this movie will have something great, but take a closer look and you'll see it's filled with real joy and entertainment.