What to Expect When Your Expecting
What To Expect from a Hollywood Comedy with an Excessively Large Cast
Release Date: May 18, 2012
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez,
Elizabeth Banks, Chace
Crawford, Brooklyn Decker, Ben
Falcone, Anna Kendrick,
Matthew Morrison, Dennis
Quaid, Chris Rock, Rodrigo
Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Rob
Huebel, Tom Lennon, Amir Talai
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 110 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Director: Kirk Jones
Executive Producer: Heidi Murkoff, Eric Murkoff,
Alan Nevins, Allison Shearmur,
Producer: Mike Medavoy, Arnold W.
Messer, David Thwaites
Writer: Shauna Cross, Heather Hach
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO
Lionsgate Films AKA Lions Gate Films
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
Fitness show host Jules (Cameron Diaz) and TV dance star Evan (Matthew Morrison) lead fast-paced, celebrity lives. This proves unsustainable when they’re confronted with the surprising demands of impending parenthood. Baby store owner and children’s book writer Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and her husband Gary (Ben Falcone) have tried to get pregnant for several years. They finally succeed, only to be outdone by the simultaneous pregnancy of Gary’s rich, retired NASCAR champion father (Dennis Quade) and his very young, newly-acquired second wife (Brooklyn Decker). Then, there’s photographer Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and her husband, Alex (Rodrigo Santoro), who isn’t so sure about the whole idea of parenting. Alex decides to join a “dudes” support group where he can share his fears and learn about what to expect in a candid environment. Finally, Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chace Crawford) are the youngest, least experienced and most unlikely pair. They find themselves in their unplanned situation due to a night of irresponsibility and indulgence.
Together, as their stories intertwine, these couples learn about the often painful but nonetheless rewarding and joyful experience of becoming parents, in spite of the hardship and exhaustion associated with the process. The quality of the production is high, but viewers probably will feel somewhat overwhelmed by the number of characters covered and al the different stories taking place at once. Moreover, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING may remind viewers of other movies seem to sacrifice depth and rigor for star power and easy entertainment value.
Sadly, from the very beginning, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING is marked by one sexually promiscuous scene or conversation after another. Ranging from flippant, non-committal, sexual commentary to explicit sexual behavior, the movie sells and exploits sexual immorality at many turns. Several scenes, for example, glorify wild partying. Thus, despite the occasional heart-felt and sincere instances of compassion, honesty, and reconciliation, crude humor and licentious dress dominate. The film casually treats and implicitly condones extramarital sexual conduct repeatedly, implying more than one occurrence of pre-marital intercourse and cohabitation. In its more redeeming moments, there is actually a consistent, underlying positive moral message about the necessity of fidelity and compromise in relationships. The importance of family also is clearly highlighted, reproduction is repeatedly described as miraculous, and there’s a touching adoption ceremony in Ethiopia that makes reference to God.
However, the sanctity of the institution of marriage is ultimately rendered optional if not inconsequential and irrelevant. Certainly it’s not portrayed as normative. This is especially misleading, in fact, because one is left with a “happily ever-after” impression over and against the harsh reality that the majority of extramarital sexual relationships end in separation and single-parenting difficulties. Thus, the attempt to convey optimism about the outcomes of child-rearing alongside a lax attitude toward the formality of marriage is undermined by the movie’s more pronounced sentiment of sexual “freedom” within the confines of commitment. While this view is perhaps defensible from a secular perspective, it falls well short of the biblical expectation and the mandate within the context of confessional Christian communities for lifelong matrimony and discipleship.
Adults may find some of the content to be quite funny, but this would come at too high a cost and risk. Much of the movie’s humor is at the expense of a more dignified alternative. Men and women alike as viewers are sure to be tempted to lust after the objectifying and dehumanizing depictions of what could otherwise be God-honoring bodies. Furthermore, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING unapologetically celebrates conventional morality and the sell-out culture of the corporate, mainstream media establishment. For these reasons, this movie is not recommended. Children, teens, and adults alike should seek more wholesome, uplifting entertainment that resists the exchange of integrity for trendiness, even though the movie admittedly contains a few valuable lessons and cheap laughs.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING has high production values, but there are just too many characters. This makes the comic and heartfelt moments seem superficial. It’s also a little overwhelming. Worse, sexual vulgarity and immorality is pervasive, despite some moral elements and positive references to God and the miracle of children. The filmmakers encourage faithfulness, but they also suggest marriage isn’t a requirement for happiness. MOVIEGUIDE® thinks moviegoers can do much better with their time than WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING.