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Movie ReviewsRating: 2 of 5 yaps

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Three quarters of the way through “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” I consoled myself with the thought, “At least no one’s used the word ‘vajayjay.’ ” Not two minutes later, the horrifically cutesy euphemism was dropped, joining a pile of awful gender stereotypes, squandered comedic ability and pandering parodies.

In the hands of the right screenwriter — and without the weight of a self-help adaptation — “What to Expect” could have been a hilarious yet gentle exploration of the strange journey to parenthood. With a diverse cast, the different experiences of culture, sexuality and class could have been lightly touched on without being too overbearing. (Lofty expectations of a summer blockbuster, I know, but a critic can dream.)

Instead, Elizabeth Banks whines about farts.

“What to Expect” pats itself on the back with a nod to diversity: Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro rent instead of own and are adopting a child from Ethiopia. But there are no gay couples or single parents in sight.

Alums of “Bridesmaids,” one of 2011′s best mainstream movies, are tragically underused. Ben Falcone (aka Air Marshal Jon in “Bridesmaids”) whines his dialogue as Banks’ husband, forever emasculated by his NASCAR-driving father (Dennis Quaid, whose goofy enjoyment is perhaps the movie’s sole highlight), who’s knocked up his trophy wife with twins.

Rebel Wilson shone in “Bridesmaids” as a gloriously nutty roommate; here she’s reduced to the butt of fat jokes. And Wendi McLendon-Covey (desperate housewife Rita in “Bridesmaids”) barely has lines at all here and, apart from a humorous drunken exchange, doesn’t even interact with her husband, played by McLendon-Covey’s former “Reno 911!” castmate Thomas Lennon.

Though it received undeserved backlash, “Juno” contained a touching moment when an adoptive mother touched a teenager’s pregnant belly and gazed up in wonder. 2009′s “Away We Go” combined ironic humor and real heart as one couple traveled cross-country to decide where to raise their unborn daughter. None of the genuine laughs or sincere exchanges of these two films can be found in “What to Expect.” In their place are a cadre of incompetent and bitter stay-at-home dads (including Chris Rock) and Anna Kendrick, woefully miscast as a hip food-truck chef.

Had “What to Expect” fallen in the hands of “Bridesmaids” co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, it could have been an excellent ensemble comedy, perhaps titled “Bridesmaids 2: This Time It’s Maternal.” The cast would be reconfigured, following couples Matthew Morrison and Megan Mullally (the latter has a wonderful, probably improvised cameo); Santoro and Quaid (yes, a gay couple); Falcone and Wilson (yes, a not-conventionally-attractive couple); and Lennon and McLendon-Covey. The bevy of bitter dads could stay, with better jokes and a token mom. I envisioned this entire setup while viewing “What to Expect.” I had nothing else to do.

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13 Responses to “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”

  1. Andrea Hadley says:

    I really enjoyed this movie, It brought back memories about when I was expecting my first child. This movie was funny and serious at the same time, I enjoyed Chris Rocks part in the film because he seemed like the ordinary man with kids who had little or no clue,

  2. movie was just okay, I don’t have any kids and haven’t had the experience they are searching for.

  3. Kellie says:

    Movie was okay. Cute and funny at times. Im not big on cliches.

  4. Tanaia Moore says:

    Very funny movie for people that have experienced the ups and downs of pregnancy. Loved the Dads club…funny to picture thats how they (men) really act. This will be a Sunday afternoon movie when it comes out on DVD.

  5. Shirley says:

    I went with a friend to see the movie, We enjoyed it. I loved the dad’s club. We enjoed the humor through out the movie. I beleive people that already have experienced pregnancy will get a kick out of this.

  6. Lindsey M. says:

    This movie was good. I’ll probably buy it…

  7. Kristina says:

    I saw this last week, and it is truly enjoyable and im not just saying that because im a woman. Most of these recent films that have had alot of actors in them have been to bloated "new years eve". I thought this movie had a great balance and the comedy was very well timed. Banks did a great job in this movie, totally stole the show.

  8. I really enjoyed this movie. It brought back memories when I was pregnant with my children. I was re-living the events through the movie. It was funny, serious it is an excellent movie!

  9. Rebecca Luebcke says:

    I’m not sure what audience this movie would appeal to. People that already have children would think it was unrealistic and not how it happened. People without children might think it’s funny, but not be able to relate. With a fantastic line up of cast you would wish they could do it better. Disappointing. I assume the only reason it gets 2 yaps instead of 1 was for the few laugh out loud moments.

  10. Mike says:

    Can someone please tell me how these large cast train wrecks keep receiving the green light?

  11. Julie Wakley says:

    This was a sweet movie that covered the whole spectrum of how women (and the baby daddys) handle the pregnancies and how their paths cross unexpectedly throughout the movie.

  12. Saw this movie. It was ok. I enjoyed it. Think a better rental then the $7-8 you will have to pay to get in. Had some funny parts and it brought back some great memories for me.

  13. Lorianne T. says:

    I was able to attend the free screening and was not impressed with this movie. The cast alone should have made this movie great. I just wish they dedicated more time to all types of couples including a single and a gay couple. Focusing more on how the couples were handling the pregnancy would have made the movie more realistic.