Thursday, May 23, 2013

Movie Review: What to Expect When You're Expecting


I'm sure many of you have heard of (or even read) the infamous book, What to Expect When You're Expecting. Personally I have steered clear of this book, only glancing at it a bit whenever I wander into Barnes and Noble. My older sister warned me early on that the book was more likely to completely freak me out instead of helping me feel more at ease about everything. At the same time, my ob/gyn said she thinks the book is fine and can be incredibly I'll leave the book debate up to you. Feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on it because I'm genuinely curious what most women's reactions are to the book!

However, I'm not here to talk about the book. Instead I'd like to talk about the 2012 movie this book inspired which is also titled What to Expect When You're Expecting. For those of you that are concerned about spoilers, I can assure you that whatever I write in this review will stay generic or surface level and should not spoil details or rob you of your movie-watching experience (because I can't stand when people ruin books or movies for me!).

According to IMDB: Comedy, Drama, Romance

The Premise
The movie follows the lives of five interconnected couples as they each experience different journeys toward having a baby for the first time. Two of the couples have struggled with infertility issues but one of them ends up finally conceiving after almost throwing in the towel; the other couple decides to adopt a baby from overseas. For the other three couples the pregnancies are more of a welcomed surprise and the path toward parenthood brings some of them (especially the couples who aren't married) much closer together. One of the five women ends up miscarrying, so her path becomes one of healing and learning to move forward in a world surrounded by other pregnancies and babies. Ultimately the movie journey ends shortly after the babies are within the arms of their parents and viewers have been able to witness each of the characters' joys and struggles from conception to birth (or beginning to end of the adoption process).

My Thoughts/Reactions
As a woman who is 28 weeks pregnant I found certain parts extremely relateable or humorous, especially because each of the women have unique pregnancies and deliveries. One woman is a celebrity personal trainer and remains insanely buff throughout the 9 months but tends to think she is superwoman and has to learn not to push her body too hard. One woman experiences the "classic" nausea and bodily discomforts, which is exactly the opposite of what she envisioned her pregnancy "glow" to be like. Another woman is the quintessential pregnant lady that all women can't stand; she never gets sick, isn't uncomfortable at all, continues wearing stiletto heels the entire time, has a magical labor, and delivers her twins with basically no effort. In other words, I think any woman could find something relateable and/or amusing about one of these characters (whether it's one of these 3, the woman who adopts, or the woman who miscarries). There were also several heartwarming, endearing scenes that have the potential to make any hormonal pregnant woman shed a few tears.

But don't think for one second that this is entirely a "chick flick." The men in these relationships are undeniably present and part of the storyline as they navigate becoming fathers for the first time. One of them joins a "dudes group" which basically entails walking in the park with their children and commiserating over all the unfortunate things they've accidentally done while taking care of their babies. While I understand that this "dudes group" is meant to provide much comedic relief, some of the things they did or discussed did not sit well with me. At one point one of the dads is blatantly checking out female runners and a few minutes later most of the (also married) fathers are ogling a picture of an Australian woman on their friend's phone and making crude comments about her breasts.

Because of the brief ogling of women and the fact that some of these couples having babies are clearly not married I would not recommend this film to anyone who wants a plot line completely in line with Catholic morals. However, I would say that the crude comments and actions of the men are milder than most of what I've seen in countless other movies or television programs...and the couples who aren't married do care greatly about one another which (in my movie-watching world) allowed me to continue watching without getting hung up on the morality of it all.

Overall I'd have to say that this movie is "okay," which means that I didn't mind watching it once but probably wouldn't watch it again unless it was mindlessly playing in the background while I spend time with friends. It kept me entertained and captured my attention the first time through, but wouldn't be as interesting or entertaining beyond that. Considering it got an average of 5.5 stars out of 10 on IMDB, I'm guessing a lot of people feel similarly to me.

With that said, if you're a woman who has experienced (or is experiencing) pregnancy this film has the potential to bring you a few good laughs. My husband agreed that the movie was okay, although he asked me at one point if I was having him watch it to "freak [him] out" because one of the women experiences some labor complications and nothing goes according to her birth plan. I assured him that wasn't my intention, although as I reflected on the movie I came to the conclusion that they did a decent job of conveying realistic struggles or dangers while keeping it pretty lighthearted and heartwarming.

So if you're in the mood for a lighthearted comedy that also has a blend of drama and romance, go ahead and give this movie a try. I could honestly see some people loving this movie and some people feeling pretty bland about it. If you watch it, let me know your thoughts!

"I just wanted the glow. The one that they promise you on the cover of those magazines. Well, I'm calling it - pregnancy sucks. Making a human being is really hard. I have no control over my body or my emotions."
-Wendy from What to Expect When You're Expecting

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