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Film Review : What To Expect When You're Expecting

05/18/2012 06:08PM ● Published by Justin Buettner

Divided into several separate stories of couple’s paths to parenthood, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, like the book, tries to be a general guide of what expecting parents will go through. The movie tries to cover all their bases from a woman pregnant with twins to a set of parents adopting a child. Of course the movie ties together these various people with a few of the couples crossing paths and all the expectant mothers finally giving birth at the same time in the same hospital no less.

To review a movie like What To Expect When You’re Expecting I think you have to take into account who the movie is made for. This is not a general audience film. Quite the opposite in fact. This movie is made for couples that are trying to or are pregnant. It may extend to couples who have recently had babies, but let’s face it, new parents are not going to the movies. Keeping its target audience in mind, What To Expect When You’re Expecting is actually quite successful as movie.

Usually I cringe when I hear a movie is divided into five to six different stories of different people that are loosely connected. That usually tells me the writers had five to six mediocre stories that could not support a movie by themselves but by cramming them together they can attach more stars in hopes of fooling the public in seeing a terrible movie. This approach has worked quite well in recent years with movies like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Day. What to Expect When You’re Expecting uses the multiple storylines to fit in as many different styles of pregnancies as it could into the film. This was a smart choice as they will likely connect with a large number of women as they are likely going to find a character in the film they relate to. In addition they cram in the father’s perspective too which will make the movie more palatable for them too.

Truth be told this movie works best as a drama. Even though the previews sell the comedy, the comedic moments are fleeting and when the jokes arrive they don’t fit. Everytime comedy is tried in this film it feels like a tired sitcom moment. The good thing for the audience is that What To Expect When You’re Expecting truly has moving moments. The movie has something to say and has interesting characters to channel their message.  Because there are so many storylines most of them are not developed as much as they deserve, but unlike Valentine’s Day, most of the stories here are good ones. It would not be a huge stretch to think a film solely based on one of the couples from this movie could work. This was quite surprising to me.

Kirk Jones does a surprising competent job balancing the several storylines throughout the running time. This is no easy task. He capably handles the drama although perhaps his comic timing could use some refining. The writer’s certainly share the blame in the low quality of comedy too.

If you are not within the target audience of this movie I can safely predict you will hate it. This movie will come across as nothing more than a bad soap opera mixed with an unfunny sitcom. The characters will seem like aliens to you; there will be no characters in the movie that you will remotely relate too. However if you find that you own the baby manual What To Expect When You’re Expecting you will find this movie enjoyable. I can guarantee this movie is a lot more entertaining and way less terrifying than the book (which predicts disease and illness for you and your child at every symptom, truly scary stuff to a new parent). In as much that it is truly effective for the people it is made for, What To Expect When You’re Expecting is actually a well made movie.

Films like What To Expect When You’re Expecting : Juno, Knocked Up, and Maybe Baby


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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