Magazine article Variety

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Magazine article Variety

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Article excerpt

FILM

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Five couples endure the highs and lows of pregnancy in "What to Expect When You're Expecting,1' a slight, glossy, star-topped comedy inspired by Heidi MurkofTs bestselling advice book. Though the pic shares little but its title with MurkofTs manual, it's nothing if not topical. Just as the book became essential reading among moms-to-be, the movie, citing more pregnancy trends than an obstetrics convention, may become required viewing for expectant parents - a designation owing lese to its quality than to a lack of competition.

First published in 1984, Murkoffs book was born out of her desire to find helpful, peer-driven pregnancy information at a time when Dr. Spock had cornered the child-care market. Though some professionals deplored Murkoffs experienceguided approach, the book remains a classic; four editions later, it's spawned a host of related titles and copycats.

No surprise, then, that Hollywood finally came calling, especially after "He's Just Not That Into You" made the successful leap from page to screen. "What to Expect" is the latest in slick packaging: Take a popular, high-concept title, weave together a limp tapestry from various loosely connected narrative strands, and embellish the project with a full roster of marketable stars (most of whom didn't have to commit to a lengthy shooting schedule).

Penned by Shauna Cross and Heather Hatch, the pic makes much of the unexpected pregnancy. Celebrity fitness guru Jules (Cameron Diaz) is stunned to leam she and dancer b.f. Evan (Matthew Morrison) are pregnant likewise, food-truck manager Rosie (Anna Kendrick) is surprised that a onenight stand with her hunky rival, Marco (Chace Crawford), leaves her preggers. No one is more amazed than lactation specialist Wendy (Elizabeth Banks), who nearly threw in the towel after two years of trying with her husband, Gary (Ben Falcone). Always looking to overshadow his son, Gary's dad, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), announces at a family brunch that he and trophy wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) are also expecting.

Photographer Holly (a surprisingly nuanced Jennifer Lopez) and husband Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) become parents through adoption. After discovering a baby is coming their way from Ethiopia, Holly is thrilled; Alex, terrified. That leads Alex to solicit the advice of a "dudes group," a roving quartet of Baby Bjorn-outfitted, stroller-toting dads including Chris Rock and the ever-acerbic Tom Lennon. …

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