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Movie review – “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”

I don’t even know where to start when it comes to Kirk Jone’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Ironically, I don’t think that Kirk Jones knew where to start either. WTEWYE is a mess with too many plots, too many characters, and too much going on. It’s another one of those movies that takes the formula that Paul Haggis used with Crash and turns it into a comedy. It didn’t work with Gary Marshall’s Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve movies and it doesn’t work here either.

I guess no one learned that sometimes too much is just too much.

The multiple plots that intertwine the movie’s main theme of parenthood are a mess to follow. Too many characters are never a good thing but when you make them all integral to the various plots, this becomes a traffic jam of epic proportions. In other words there is just too damn much going on and you lose the story.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting wants to be a comedy on par with Bridesmaids and there are times where the humor actually passes that of Bridesmaids. Then there are times where the humor and the plot just fall flat and make you want to poke your eyes out. Pacing and editing didn’t help my overall feeling of dread when the story goes from laughs and then BAM, you’re hit with a dramatic moment in the middle of the film that just takes away from the comedy. It felt misplaced and just outside of what is being sold as a comedy. The same miscue occurs near the end of the movie as well and all it does is manage to make me wish the movie would end already.

Plot 1: Jules (Cameron Diaz) and Evan (Matthew Morrison) – Evan is a professional dancer and Jules is the Jillian Michael of a reality TV show akin to The Biggest Loser. Jules gets pregnant and is a control freak. Evan and Jules need to learn to trust each other while also learning to be parents and balance their professional careers.

Plot 2: Holly (Jennifer Lopze) and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) want to have a child and are trying to adopt a child from Ethiopia. Alex loves Holly but is very nervous about being a first-time dad.

Plot 3: Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and Gary (Ben Falcone) are having a baby after trying for close to two years. Gary is not in good terms with his father and much younger step-mother.

Plot 4: Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) and his second wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) are having twins. Have I mentioned that Ramsey is Gary’s father so this makes Skyler the step-mother who happens to be younger then Gary. Ramsey likes to compete with Gary and one-up his son in hopes of teaching him how to take charge.

Plot 5: Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chance Crawford) run competing food trucks and happened to date, once, back in high school. After a one-night-stand, Rosie is pregnant.  Marco says he will be there for Rosie and the baby. Rosie also happens to be Skyler’s cousin as pointed out late in the movie from a throwaway line.

Plot 6: Holly’s boss Kara (Wendi McLendon-Covey) convinces her to send Alex to the Daddy Dude Group which is held on Saturday mornings at the park. This is a group to help men coupe with parenthood. Kara’s husband Craig (Thomas Lennon) is part of the group.

Plot 7: Daddy Dude Group lead by Craig and attended by fellow fathers Vic (Chris Rock), Gabe (Rob Huebel), Patel (Amir Talai), and workout dude Davis (Joe Manganiello). They meet each week on Saturday mornings to vent and keep each other sane with balancing the family life.

I’m doing my best to try and give a review for a movie that is all over the place and to the point, very forgettable.  The funniest parts of the film come in any of Elizabeth Banks’ scenes. Her scenes with Rebel Wilson who plays Janice, her store assistant, are classic. Rebel just knows how to be funny as we saw in Bridesmaids. Even the Daddy Dude Group deliver some great scenes and very memorable laughs but that comes at the extent of the physical humor of a child tripping and being hit in the head. This is the type of movie that will play well on TBS/TNT on a rainy weekend afternoon so you can go and get a snack during the commercial breaks.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is rated PG-13 with a run time of 110 minutes.

Rating = 1.5 stars

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