Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review: What to Expect When You Are Expecting

I did not want to see What to Expect When You Are Expecting.  No man does and if he says otherwise then he is either lying because his significant other is within earshot or the person he has been dying to go out with, finally said “yes” and in an act of sheer cruelty chose this movie.  So then you may be wondering why I plunked down thirteen hard earned dollars to see this movie.  The simple answer is The Dictator.  A wise person once told me that relationships are all about compromise and since my girlfriend gave in on that movie, I had to give in on this one.  Having seen What to Expect, I can tell you that both of us left the cinema absolutely disappointed because I wanted the movie to be short and she was expecting to laugh.

Based on the novel of the same name, the title of the plot kind of says it all.  The movie is about a bunch of couples that are pregnant or expecting to welcome a new child into their respective homes.  They all face a different set of problems as they move towards the big day and somehow all amazingly end up at the same hospital at the same time for the same reason.  Fear not, the credibility of this movie has completely evaporated long before you ever reach that implausible point in the plot.

I have mentioned it in this space before, but I really don’t like these movies that have ridiculously large ensemble casts and trace a number of loosely connected storylines (i.e. Valentine’s Day and New Years Eve).  What to Expect When You are Expecting has definitely reinforced my distaste for this disturbing trend.  Forget about all the things that are annoying about this type of filmmaking (stunt casting, poor character development, et al), the central issue with this project is that it is simply not funny.  Don’t be fooled by the presence of Chris Rock and the daddy crew as their jokes are as bland and neutered as their characters.  This paucity of laughter could have been forgiven if only the plot of the film tugged at the proverbial heart strings, but the only time it elicits any kind of reaction from viewers is when a newborn baby is paraded across the screen.

As for the cast, they are for the most part uninspired.  There are too many people in this group and an overabundance of weak performances to address, but there are a few who stood out as particularly subpar.  Chris Rock had to be laughing all the way to the bank when he cashed the check for this movie, because clearly he mailed it in.  He is not funny and he is clearly not trying.  Likewise to Elizabeth Banks who often does good work, but fails to bring any sort of charisma to a very significant role.  If there is one person who acquits herself, it is Rebel Wilson who essentially reprises her character from Bridesmaids and in doing so provides what few laughs there are to be had.

Needless to say I do not recommend this movie.  Avoid this movie at all cost.  If someone should give you a copy of the DVD for your birthday, then throw it away (and de-friend that person on Facebook).  If you happen to see it on TV, change the channel.  There are a million better ways to spend your time than watching the cinematic equivalent of a root canal.  In lieu of this movie, watch anything else.  You’re more likely to be entertained.

Standout Performance: Rebel Wilson is the lone source of laughter in this purported comedy.


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