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What to Expect When You're Expecting: The Movie

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | January 18, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | January 18, 2010 |

If you’ve had children, then you’re likely familiar with the What to Expect When You’re Expecting series of nonfiction books. The day you find out you’re pregnant, the first thing you do is tell your sister, even though you promised your husband that you wouldn’t tell anyone until the requisite three months have passed. The second thing you’ll do is probably buy a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. If you lose it, don’t worry about it. Everyone you know will probably buy you a copy early in your pregnancy, and you’ll probably get three copies of What to Expect: Your Baby’s First Year. The biggest problem I have with the What to Expect series, however, is that while they’re pretty good about telling you what to expect, they’re absolute crap for telling you about what to do. This is especially true of the Expect book for your baby’s first year — yeah, he hasn’t stopped crying in 12 hours, thanks for telling me to expect that. Now what the fuck am I supposed to do about it?

Oh, and also, the Expect books will tell you, in grave detail, about every single horrible malady or affliction you could expect, even if there’s only a .0001 percent chance of it happening, which is fantastic for terrifying the ever-living shit out of you. It will tell you all about the 87 conditions that will cause your baby to be born stillborn, the 127 problems that could cause your baby to die in the first hour, and the 302 different ways your infant can keel over in its first year. In other words, it creates intensely anxious parents, and I don’t know whether the medical profession loves it (more doctor visits) or hates it (because every Mom who reads it ends up calling their gynecologist at least once in the middle of the night, terrified that their baby has died inside the womb).

Anyway, there’s obviously a reason I’m bringing this up on a movie site, and it is this: Lionsgate Studio has got it in its pretty little mind to make a movie based on What to Expect When You’re Expecting because it’s a recognizable title (it’s sold about 15 million copies since 1984). And recognizable titles translate into successful movies, even if there’s no goddamn narrative. Because it’s an advice book. But hey! It worked for So, He’s Just Not That Into You, so why not, except for the fact that there’s already been a dozen movies concerning pregnant mothers, not least of which was Knocked Up, which succeeded, at least, in capturing some of the anxiety that dominates pregnancies.

“The big-screen adaptation of Expecting will follow the relationships of seven couples as they experience the thrills, terrors, surprises, aches and pains of preparing to embark on life’s biggest journey, parenthood,” says THR. The multiple story lines suggest even further that they’re basically trying to rip off the success of He’s Just Not That Into You, and you can probably expect another 14 mid-tier to A-list stars, who are glad to give up a few days in their schedule for some easy cash and a near-guarantee that their name will be attached to a moderately successful movie. Heather Hach (Freaky Friday), who is nine-months pregnant, will pen the script. Let’s hope that, for her sake, none of the half-a-million conditions detailed in What to Expect plague her or her child.

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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.