Unless you’re imbued with the spirit of Robert Altman or you’re Paul Thomas Anderson–stop making star packed, multi-story films. Gary Marshall already has the market cornered with the painful, comic versions that make tons of money– let him handle it for now. What to Expect When You’re Expecting attempts to change the rules a bit by employing funny comics, but crashes and burns in a mangled mess of poor storylines and pathetic execution.
Three expectant mothers–no wait, it’s four. Four expecting mothers–hold on, technically it’s five I guess, right? Normally, this paragraph is designated for my short synopsis of a film. The issue here is, it’s impossible to condense the faulty timeline of What to Expect When You’re Expecting into anything but a single line. A group of expectant mothers and fathers deal with the difficulties of pregnancy, hooray!
Simply put, this script is too ambitious for its own good. In attempting to present a full story of every possible pregnancy situation known to man, What to Expect When You’re Expecting dooms itself before a production logo can even hit the screen. Characters are left unattended to for such long periods, and by the time they come back on screen you’ve forgotten they exist. Typically in a movie like this, there’s a flow. Start with story 1, then go to story 2, next story 3; repeat. Instead we get, Story 1, story 2, story 5, story 1, story 3; choose your own adventure.
Having to portray a nine month span for so many couples in a two hour movie is one hell of an undertaking. I enjoy when movies don’t have to pander to people by throwing up text blocks letting everyone know what month of the pregnancy they’re in, but this is one instance that sorely needed those reminders. As time jumps, it felt like every story was supposed to succeed the previous one day to day. Yet, one night it goes from snow, to torrential rains, to the next morning being 80 degrees and sunny.
Caught in the in-proportionate story swaps, Cameron Diaz’s character seems to be in labor for about two weeks. In the Jennifer Lopez world, she and her husband are adopting and are told their wait is about one year. Suddenly, they get the news things are happening sooner, though there is no indication as to how fast things changed. Was it a few weeks, a month, two months, eight? The rocky and highly underdeveloped relationship of the films youngest couple might be the most confusing thing overall. There’s just not enough time allowed to develop any of the stories properly, and they all go limp.
I’m not going to say I didn’t laugh here or there, it’s hard for any movie to fail at making at least one punch line work. If you put my laughs on a scale weighed against the pain this movie caused me, you’ll find the few laughs pales in comparison. You can’t save a sinking movie by throwing Chris Rock, Rob Huebel, and every minor character from Bridesmaids into the mix. C’est la vie!
Rating: 1 and a half out of 5 ‘Staches