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Friday, October 19, 2012

What to expect with "What to Expect When You're Expecting"

I have some strict movie rules. Among them is: Never, never watch an ensemble-cast movie.

"What to Expect When You're Expecting" shreds that rule.

When my daughters-in-law were pregnant, I saw the same fat book lying around both of their houses: What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Well, I thought, that's interesting. I could have used that tome back in '76. And that was the last I thought about the book until I saw the trailer for a movie by the same name.

Wait a minute, how can you make a movie out of an instruction manual? I didn't get it.

And then one lonely night when my husband was out of town for work, I picked up the film at a Red Box.

And I laughed. Hard.

I've never heard of Elizabeth Banks before, but I'll tell ya, she makes the movie. (She's also hilarious in "Pitch Perfect," which I saw in a theatre a few weeks later).

"What to Expect" is full of stereotypes, and you know what? Stereotypes can be funny. All I can figure out is that the movie-makers took some of the scenarios described in the book (including the experience of expectant adoptive parents) and put flesh and bones to them.

The various scenarios aren't laced together until the very end of the film, and then only loosely, and it doesn't matter anyway. It's all fun.

My favorite part of the movie is the contrast between the all-suffering expectant mother (played by Elizabeth Banks) and her character's young stepmother, a Barbie-type who is expecting twins. The Barbie continues her amazingly athletic life throughout her pregnancy, then goes through labor perfectly-coiffed, "popping out" her first twin with a teensy sneeze.

Dennis Quaid must have had a ball playing the character who is the father of Elizabeth Banks's character. He's deliciously smarmy and he must have related very personally to becoming a late-in-life father to twins.

Teacher Gail's Movie Grade: a solid B.

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