Review: ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ (M) ?

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APPROACHING Kirk Jones’ film without expectations, I should not have been disappointed by it. But I was, grievously.

Following five women from pre-begetting foreplay through copulation to gestation, parturition and the post-partum problems of parenting, it presents a mix of strained efforts at comedy, the clichés of primi-gravid pregnancy and its emotional consequences for relationships.

Its characters are caricatures in a social environment that does the reality of its American culture little credit. It’s reasonable to treat such a serious matter with a leavening of humour. But the film tries to squeeze laughs from every moment of the women’s travail, even when what’s happening isn’t funny.

At the session when I was the only male, the infrequent laughs were not loud. That says much about the film’s effect on an audience with more intimate experience of its theme than this mere male who’s attended the birth of numerous livestock, but not human beings.

Heading the cast are Cameron Diaz as a TV weight-loss program presenter and Elizabeth Banks as the wife of the son of a bumptious egoist whose trophy bride is carrying twins.

The film’s only moment of merit, filmed in South Africa standing in for Ethiopia, with American couples unable to have children receiving orphan babies for adoption, was marred by the fierce contrast between where those little people had come from and where they were going.

At Greater Union, Hoyts and Limelight

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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