Bitesize Review: What To Expect When You’re Expecting (2012)

DIRECTOR: Kirk Jones.

CAST: Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Falcone, Rodrigo Santoro, Chris Rock, Matthew Morrison, Anna Kendrick, Chace Crawford, Dennis Quaid, Brooklyn Decker, Rebel Wilson, Thomas Lennon, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Joe Maganiello, Rob Huebel, Amir Talai.

SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the bestselling book of the same name, five couples share their stories of the challenges, elation and heartbreak that surrounds impending parenthood.

My broken arm calls for a slightly different (and bitesize) reviewing format. So here’s ten things I want to say about What To Expect When You’re Expecting:

1. What To Expect When You’re Expecting hardly challenges the genre it belongs to, making it a perfect partner to She’s Just Not That Into You. But its blend of satire and the cold hard facts of life are pulled off effectively for the most part, though there are a few too many cringe worthy moments.

2. Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks are the stars of the show, not Cameron Diaz. Jennifer Lopez is a lot of fun and she squeezes in some very tender and affecting moments with Rodrigo Santoro that will require tissues.

3. The lads, headed by Chris Rock, are mainly there for laughs and to keep this from being a film about parenthood purely from a female perspective. The combination of female author and male director works fairly well, giving the male audience something to laugh at even if the unrealistic ‘banter’ snaps you out of the film’s realism occasionally. Keep your eyes on Chris Rock’s little son. He’s actually amazing.

4. Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone make a great pair, but Banks and Rebel Wilson work even better. Though Wilson’s role may merely feel like an extension of her Bridesmaids character, she is completely – and hilariously – shameless.

5. Yes, we are aware that Cameron Diaz and Brooklyn Decker have ridiculously toned bodies (that opening scene with Diaz confirms she has 0% body fat), but that doesn’t mean they’re the stars. Diaz does the job, but is at no point challenged, with Decker presenting us with a conundrum over whether she should be allowed screen time ever again.

6. Although your brain cells don’t necessarily need to be engaged, there is some unexpected depth in the stories of certain couples that brings a rewarding sense of surprise.

7. This film definitely has a mix of your typical Judd Apatow characters, but succeeds as there are realistic moments scattered amidst the comedy that let you sympathise, relate to and care about the people you are watching.

8. Wendi McLendon-Covey needs to be in far more films. Take note, Hollywood.

9. I was really surprised that I didn’t want this film to end. You’ll want to follow Crawford and Kendrick and see how the competition between Elizabeth Banks’ family works out, as it gets better and better while working towards its climax.

10. Though What To Expect When You’re Expecting is sugarcoated, it is a lot of fun and will put a big fat grin on your face. It’ll just surprise you when those unexpected moments hit you square between the eyes.

VERDICT: 3/5

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