Usually, when a movie is based on a best-selling book, that book is not an instruction manual. But Hollywood is full of wacky ideas, and the new flick What To Expect When You're Expecting is one of them. Like Love, Actually, Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve, the story follows a large, ensemble cast, but this time, they're portraying different types of couples about to be parents. "I just wanted the glow," Wendy (played by Elizabeth Banks) says as the trailer begins. "The one that they promise you on the cover of those magazines." Wait, what? Which mags are these? All we ever get promised are "super simple slim downs" and "sexy sex tips." Anyway, Wendy sobs: "Pregnancy sucks." And so it begins.
With a script penned by Shauna Cross, a former roller derby gal who wrote the screenplay for Whip It!, we're introduced to a cross-section of heterosexual couples and their pregnancy stories. Jennifer Lopez's character is on the verge of adoption; Brooklyn Decker is a young mom-to-be with an older husband; Cameron Diaz is celebrity-type, thrilled about her new big boobs; Anna Kendrick seems to be a single lady who gets unexpectedly knocked up. Casting women of different ages and throwing in a guest quickie-appearance by Chris Rock gives the flick an illusion of diversity and inclusiveness, but it's really about four white ladies and one Latina. (And the project seems fairly embarrassing for everyone involved.)
There's no doubt that our culture has a weird relationship with pregnancy: Married and unmarried celebrity women must endure constant speculation and Unsolicited Uterus Updates. There's no doubt that groups of moms and moms-to-be will flock to the theaters, chuckling at the "funny cuz it's true!" line about wanting to punch your husband in the face. But it just feels like Hollywood still thinks women are only interested in the three Bs: brides, babies and boys. If it's not a rom-com, it's a wedding-com; if it's not a bridesmaid's tale, it's a pregnancy plot. Gah. Anyway, get ready: The line you're gonna have to hear for the next five months (this flick opens in May) is actually not about kids. It's "Welcome to escrow, bitch."