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Review: What To Expect When You’re Expecting

May 30, 2012

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


The road to motherhood is a long and strenuous journey, filled with pitfalls, aches and pains (and that’s putting it lightly), and the to and fro of the not so delightful mood swings. And in the end, after nine months of putting your body through so much, you get this little bundle of joy who changes your life (and waistline) forever. Although not for everyone, parenthood is a rewarding experience for both women and men who get to watch the product of their creation grow into a well rounded human being. However, during pregnancy, it is hard to image that all of this is still to come and we instead focus on the here and now, when we actually don’t feel that well and just want to punch someone in the face.

‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ is based on the bestselling book of the same name and following five couples throughout pregnancy and documents how they cope with the different issues they stand to face whenever they actually become parents. Holly and Alex (Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro) who have difficulty conceiving and are instead trying to adopt, Jules and Evan (Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison) a weight loss coach and her dancing partner on a celebrity dance show who have different views on circumcision, Wendy and Gary (Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone) a couple finding their first pregnancy a lot tougher than expected, Skyler and Ramsey (Brooklyn Decker and Dennis Quaid) father and step-mother to Gary whose ‘perfect’ pregnancy really gets on Gary and Wendy’s last nerve, and Rosie and Marco (Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford) whose pregnancy seems to be the toughest of them all.

Following the ins and outs of these characters lives, we get to experience pregnancy from a variety of different perspectives, and by getting to know these people we begin to understand why this time in their lives is the most important, and at times can be the most stressful.

I have to say I did read other reviews on this film before going to see it (which I try not to do in order to gain my own perspective), but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I found it to be quite hilarious at times and enjoyed watching each couple trying to prepare themselves for when their baby arrives. Pregnancy is definitely not an easy task to complete, as demonstrated by Wendy who cannot control her bladder and complains at the sight of haemorrhoids she wishes didn’t exist.

My favourite characters in the film have to be the ‘dude group’; a group of dads who seem to have formed an alliance in order to help each other out with the struggles of fatherhood. Their bond and loyalty reminded me of the ‘wolf pack’ allusion in ‘The Hangover’, only more sensible and with a 9.30pm curfew. It was just great to get an insight into the father side of parenthood as this often seems to be overshadowed by the mothers.

One thing I would have to complain about in this film is the tie in of the characters’ relationships to one another. Although we know that Gary and Ramsey are father and son, other than that, the other characters are barely connected to each other, if not at all. Having been used to the format of an all star cast film, such as ‘Love Actually’ and ‘New Year’s Eve’, I did kind of go into the film with the expectation that the connections would be less random and more substantial. However, I believe that this was just a minor failure that, on the whole didn’t really seem to affect the film at all.

This film might not be for everyone, but personally, I enjoyed both the mix of humour and drama which made it more believable in terms of addressing the issues of pregnancy and parenthood itself.

The characters were endearing (and at times ridiculous) and even some of the children had their time to shine (even if it was at the expense of their own safety). Having no children myself, I wouldn’t exactly want any of my pregnancies to go the same way as any of these did (and I doubt mine will be as funny), but I do hope that at the end, I will be just as happy as they were and finally be able to experience ‘the glow’.

Lesley Wilson.