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What To Expect When You're Expecting Review: Cram This Film Back Into Your Uterus, Hollywood

By Dustin Rowles | Film | May 18, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | May 18, 2012 |

If you’ve ever even whiffed the scent of pregnancy, then you’re probably familiar with the What to Expect When You’re Expecting books. Essentially, they are the Fox News of self help, fear mongering you through nine months of terror with foreboding, alarmist pregnancy advice. It’s a wonder any woman who reads the What To Expect books isn’t terrified of delivering a poop monster who departs the womb and murders the midwife. Frankly, I’m surprised the movie didn’t follow a gaggle of ladies from conception to their incompetent cervixes, ectopic pregnancies, blighted ovums, vanishing twins, preecalampsia and stillborn monoamniotic twins. Childbirth is a goddamn miracle, and if you read the What to Expect books, you’d think the miracle had more to do with producing a normal baby without its intestines on the outside than simply bringing a life into the world. Actually, that would’ve been a more entertaining film than the stillborn corpse Hollywood shat out of its uterus here.

Like He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, there’s so many actors and subplots crammed into the womb of What to Expect When You’re Expecting that it plays more like a two-hour musical montage without the music than it does an actual movie. There’s five or six or 40 pregnant women in it (it’s hard to keep up), and they’re all going through it in their own way. Elizabeth Banks is miserable and constantly peeing herself; her step-mother-in-law (Brooklyn Decker) is pregnant with twins and it barely fazes her; Cameron Diaz is the Jillian Michaels of a fake “The Biggest Loser” program braving herself through the ordeal; and Jennifer Lopez is barren, so she chooses to adopt from Ethiopia, which affords the movie an opportunity to cover all its bases and be patronizing at the same time. Oh, and Anna Kendrick is also pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy she barely likes. Her subplot is the only one that resembles anything I’ve ever read in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which is to say tragic, but only in the sense that a Nickelback ballad is tragic.

There’s also the clueless husbands, because of course they are. What the fuck do men know, right? We just provide the semen and then stand back, say dumb things, and occasionally get in the way when our pregnant women are hormonal. Don’t stand too close, fellas! Your pregnant lady might piss on you. Ben Falcone plays Elizabeth Banks’ husband; he’s a former contestant on the weight loss show and he’s gaining sympathy weight. Dennis Quaid plays his asshole of a father, a former race car driver who is married to Brooklyn Decker’s character. Rodrigo Santoro is the not-ready-to-be-a-Dad guy married to Jennifer Lopez, and Matthew Morrison’s sole responsibility in the movie is to argue with Cameron Diaz about whether they are going to slice their baby’s schmeckel. Chris Rock, Joe Manganiello, Thomas Lennon, and Rob Huebel also stand around, act as a father support group, and collect pay checks for delivering lines that they will make fun of on Twitter a year from now.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the funeral dirge of pregnancy movies, bullshit platitudes slathered in processed cheese. It may not be the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly one of the most fake. The two-celled organisms that wrote this movie along with a focus group of short-circuiting droids knows as much about pregnancy and childbirth as Lindsay Lohan knows about sobriety: They pay lip service to the concept, without injecting any actual truth to it. It’s a butt baby of a movie birthed against a brick wall, a complete and total waste of mostly untalented pretty people.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.