Any sane person would probably ask me why on Earth I would subject myself to What to Expect When You’re Expecting on a beautiful Saturday morning.
Well, there are two reasons.
Firstly, before noon all movies at the local AMC are half-price. Secondly, ever since Reno 911!, I’ve had this theory about Thomas Lennon. That theory is simply that I would watch Thomas Lennon do just about anything, and he would make it at least 56% better just for being involved. So, it was a personal challenge of sorts for me. A testing of my faith, if you will. Could even Thomas Lennon, my personal comedy hero, save this movie?
My conclusion? If they had let him, Thomas Lennon could have saved this movie. Sadly, they did not let him. But, it was still 56% better than it would have been without him. Of course, 56% better than zero is…well, you can do the math.
Following in the footsteps of Love, Actually, Valentine’s Day, and New’s Year Eve, What To Expect When You’re Expecting follows several different couples (many of whom are played by huge box office names such as Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, and Dennis Quaid) as they all brave the world of pregnancy and child birth. I’m not going to run down each story for you because, quite frankly, you never get to see one of them long enough to become truly emotionally invested in any of them, so it hardly seems worth the effort.
The main flaw of this movie is that they tried to do too much with material that simply didn’t warrant it. This should have been a simple story with lovable characters we get to know over their journeys. As viewers, we want to root for someone. It’s difficult to root for anyone when you don’t see their story play out for more than 30 seconds at a time.
Personally, I would have combined the Jennifer Lopez/Rodrigo Santoro storyline and the Chase Crawford/Anna Kendrick storyline and eliminated the rest all together. The Jennifer Lopez/Rodrigo Santoro arc involved a gun-shy husband (Santaro) who is about to become an adoptive father, more by his wife’s (Lopez) choice than his own, joining a “Dude’s Group” of dads to help him adapt to the upcoming life changes. This group, led by Chris Rock and Thomas Lennon, had the only funny moments in the film (which helps me cling to my Thomas Lennon Theory) and could have made the entire experience almost worthwhile, had they been involved for more than three total minutes of screen time. The Chase Crawford/Anna Kendrick storyline is a sweet, almost poignant story of two rival food truck owners who banter because they are attracted to each other, sleep together one time, and suddenly end up pregnant. This was by far the most engaging and emotional arc of the movie, but sadly failed to have the impact it should have had because of the limited time devoted to it. I would like to see a movie just about this couple. I would gladly watch that movie anytime.
The rest of the storylines are almost meaningless, apart from some emotional moments in the third act that aren’t earned, and therefore have very little impact or depth to them. Comedically, this film is almost a complete bust. The dialogue is lackluster to say the least, and it was difficult to identify a single actual joke. I felt like I was supposed to be laughing a lot, but I wasn’t sure why. I’m still not.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a chick. Of course I got a little teary when all the new parents held their children for the first time. I’m human, okay? But I would vastly prefer those tears to be born of a film that took the time to make me care about the characters I was watching.
Sarah Hohman works as a part-time teacher in Burbank, CA and is starting a career in stand-up comedy, as well as working steadily as a writer for an up-coming webseries.