By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
REVIEW (GRADE: C+)
Like Valentine’s Day, He’s Just Not That Into You, and New Year’s Eve before it, What to Expect When You’re Expecting combines a relatable premise with beautiful celebrities and expects that to be enough to carry a film. As is always the case with this growing mini-genre, the characters are loosely interconnected, with some of their stories more entertaining than others. In fairness, Expecting does elicit a fair amount of genuine belly-laughs (especially if you’ve had children), but it is ultimately too crass for its own good and doesn’t juggle its respective plot-threads well enough to carry the dramatic weight it clearly thinks it has.
The tenderhearted approach it has towards parenting, with equal respect for its joys and trials, combined with some legitimately hilarious scenes, elevates it slightly about other celeb-driven fluff-films, but only just. Hats off to Elizabeth Banks (The Next Three Days, The Hunger Games) who, along with Ben Falcone as her husband, steal every single scene they’re in (as do Dennis Quaid and Brooklyn Decker as Falcone’s father and stepmother). Also terrific are the supporting characters in the “Dude’s Group” led by Chris Rock. If only everyone else was as fun to watch.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: What to Expect When You’re Expecting is rated PG-13. It has one f-word and moderate profanity throughout. Vulgar and crass language is used to describe anatomy, sexuality, and bodily functions. Several men and women are seen in little clothing (swimwear and ballroom dance outfits), and a celebrity dance routine is provocative. Though there are portrayals of happy marriages, other couples get pregnant out of wedlock, with mixed results. There is some comical violence, with a woman slapping her husband and a running joke about an active child regularly injuring himself. A young couple starts passionately kissing; the scene ends there but sex is implied.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Children are a blessing to be welcomed.
Looking for another hilarious pregnancy comedy? I recommend Father of the Bride: Part Two.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.