"WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING" — ★★★ —Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Jennifer Lopez, Anna Kendrick, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker; PG-13 crude and sexual content, thematic elements and language); in general release
I went into the theater expecting little as I screened "What to Expect When You're Expecting."
My expectations were exceeded.
What could easily have been nothing but clichés and cheap humor surprised me with its depth and warmth.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is not going to win Oscars, and it won't be studied in film classes. But director Kirk Jones manages to weave five very different expecting baby stories into an entertaining 110 minutes.
Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone are Wendy and Gary, who after a struggle to get pregnant anxiously announce their pregnancy to Dennis Quaid and Brooklyn Decker, starring as Gary's father and trophy wife, respectively.
But, guess what? Dad and trophy wife are pregnant, too!
Then there's Cameron Diaz and Mathew Morrison as Jules and Evan. Jules is a workout and weight-loss guru who is appearing on a national TV dance competition with Evan.
Rumors are rampant that they are an "item," and they are certainly confirmed with their baby announcement.
Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford represent the youngest couple, Rosie and Marco, who experience that "one-time only" encounter and find themselves dealing with a totally unexpected challenge.
And finally, there's the couple that can't get pregnant, Holly and Alex. Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro play these folks with sensitivity and humor as they decide that adoption of an Ethiopian child is the answer.
All of these stories have common threads and ultimately intertwine.
The father's support group, including Chris Rock, Rob Huebel and Thomas Lennon, supplies one of those threads and is a delightful subplot.
Remember when I said "What to Expect When You're Expecting" could have easily delivered only clichés and cheap humor?
I didn't say there is none of that.
We do get some time-worn moments and guilty laughs, but overall, this gestates into a fun, entertaining and even sensitive film.
As I said, "What To Expect When You're Expecting" exceeded my expectations
"What To Expect When You're Expecting" is rated PG-13 for rude and sexual content, thematic elements and language; running time: 98 minutes.