wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
The biggest disappointment in What to Expect When You’re Expecting is its lack of ambition. The film revels in its predictability, making no attempt to try a different brand of humour or a different revelation of human experience. While some moments have the potential to make you laugh, for the most part the movie is banal and unsatisfactory.Read more
What you expect from What to Expect When You’re Expecting doesn’t falter one bit through the 110 minutes of the film. The film is adapted by the non-fiction book of the same name and its main draw, much like other ensemble films like He’s Just Not that Into You and New Year’s Eve is the variety of familiar faces, (gorgeous Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez playing pregnant woman who look cosmetically flawless) virtually no character-viewer relationship, some funny moments and a predictable story-line.
Based in New York, the film graphs seven couples who have one thing in common - they’re all having a baby. Soon they realize that pregnancy is harder than they imagined. The many characters include Cameron Diaz, a fitness guru celebrity who winds up with an unexpected pregnancy. While Jennifer Lopez finds trouble adopting a child after having difficulty in conceiving, Elizabeth Banks preaches on a perfect pregnancy but all her rules go topsy-turvy when she’s expecting, and Chace Crawford (Gossip girl fame) and Anna Kendrick (of the Twilight saga) play ex-lovers who reunite to result in an accidental pregnancy.
The movie does have its funny moments though – mostly to Elizabeth Bank’s credit, where she plays the uptight mommy-to-be who becomes a chaotic mess by the d-day. Her trail is the funniest to follow, and you find yourself waiting for her bit to pop up amidst the ensemble. On the flipside, most of the humor adopted for the bigger stars like Diaz and Lopez seem repetitive and remind you of an American sitcom.
The film, predictably so, relies on many clichés - the beautiful first touch of a new-born baby, the surge of emotions that a mommy-to-be faces and the parallel track of the husbands, which I would have preferred to be more inclusive. As it is, the husbands are quite negligible, and much to our disappointment most of the couple are pretty straightforward. No gay couple or even inter-racial couples for that matter. A cultural or homosexual complexity while having a child could have provided fodder for further humor.
The film unfolds mostly through predictable background score and you can virtually check off every cliché being used in the film: every trouble is eventually justified with the larger joy of being a mother, the character who has the most trouble ends up with the happiest ending and the actual act of conceiving is as glamorous and colorful as the posters of the film. Being the biggest stars in the film, Lopez and Diaz mostly disappoint with the plastic performances.
If what you’re looking for is a happy-fun film with many faces and characters I suggest you rent Love Actually. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a disappointment.
This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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