With her partner Evan (Matthew Morrison, 'Glee's' Mr. Schuster) prepping for the 15th season of Celebrity Dance Factor, celebrity fitness guru Jules (Cameron Diaz, repping the over 35 set) discovers she's pregnant. Holly (Jennifer Lopez, repping the infertile set) is steering Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, "Che," "I Love You Phillip Morris") into an adoption that terrifies him. Breast Choice Boutique owner Wendy (Elizabeth Banks, repping the hard pregnancy set) has her dream come true when she and hubby Gary (Ben Falcone, "Bridesmaids") stop trying so hard, but their news is overwhelmed when Gary's competitive dad Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) announces his trophy wife Skyler's (Brooklyn Decker, repping the easy pregnancy set) having twins. And food truck owner Rosie (Anna Kendrick, "50/50," repping the unplanned set) hooks up with a competitor, hottie high school 'playah' Marco (Chace Crawford, TV' 'Gossip Girl'), and finds herself plunged into a relationship when the stick turns blue in "What to Expect When You're Expecting."
Director Kirk Jones (the abysmal "Everybody's Fine") finds little to love about child rearing in this movie adapted by Shauna Cross ("Whip It") and Heather Hach ("Freaky Friday") from Heidi Murkoff's advice manuals and Elizabeth Banks suffers the most for their sins in a dreary role composed of humiliating bodily functions. Diaz is all about her well-toned bod and Lopez does some soft yearning in the face of macho and economic stress but neither is exactly compelling. Anna Kendrick once again proves she's in it for the long haul with the best performance as a conflicted young woman, but isn't it odd that in a film about pregnancy where she owns a food truck that edible cravings never once come up? The film is nonetheless overstuffed, with its four main couples, one peripheral one (where *Brooklyn Decker* gives a better performance than Dennis Quaid), a Greek chorus of dads and their idealized mascot, not to mention an Atlanta locale with an L.A. satellite story, but even with all this, there's no room for a gay or lesbian angle. It's somewhat choppy, shallow and rarely funny or moving.
If the film has a central character, it's Banks's Wendy, as she not only has a sidekick (Kristen Wiig's "Bridesmaids" roomie, Rebel Wilson, meh), but a 'mother-in-law' she's in almost as much competition with as her schlubby dentist husband is to his retired race car driver dad (a loud and cartoonish Quaid). And Banks is the least pleasant of all of these people to watch, constantly complaining about peeing herself until she melts down addressing the ABC Kids Expo about how much pregnancy sucks and goes viral on Youtube. The time given over to watching Falcone and Quaid until one of them drives into a swimming pool could have been excised from the very worst Adam Sandler movie. J-Lo's Holly tries to feather a nest on limited income and pushes her reluctant partner Alex into a 'daddies' group that includes her boss's husband (other attempts to connect these guys to the rest of the cast are forced). Chris Rock leads the carriage and carrier quartet and, besides Kendrick, offers the film's only enjoyable moments zinging off a good line or three ('Sometimes I think about the price of college and sit in my car and cry. Then I punch myself in the dick.'), but the other three add nothing - and more, the worst line in the film coming from Rob Huebel's (TV's 'Childrens Hospital') Gabe ('I love my baby so much, I'm afraid I'm gonna eat him.'). Every visit with this Greek chorus includes a run by by the buff Davis (Joe Manganiello, HBO's 'True Blood'), enthusiastically cheered in a bit of broody bromance.
Here's one woman who is sick to death of hearing the word 'vagina' and its obnoxious 'vahjayjay' spinoff, tossed around on TV shows like 'Two Broke Girls,' but Cross and Hach jump right on the bandwagon. (They also rip off the war wounds scene from "Jaws," right down to its punch line.) And if we haven't seen enough women acting possessed while in labor, here we're treated to a whole montage of them, because of course everyone ends up in the hospital at the same time (Brooklyn Decker's ridiculously easy labor provides another of this tired film's few chuckles). In addition to an already extensive cast, watch for a bunch of reality TV stars and Megan Mullally as Evan's latest, lusty dance partner.
Robin did not see this film.
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