Monday, June 25, 2018
Movies

'What to Expect When You're Expecting' delivers no surprises

What to Expect When You're Expecting is what you expect from a movie about pregnancy, even if you've seen only one before: morning sickness, weight gain, mood swings, self-doubt, water breaking, the climactic race to the maternity ward. All of it incredibly multiplied by three, with adoption and miscarriage tossed in for good measure.

The only surprise is that Garry Marshall didn't direct this jumbled, star-studded kibitz and rename it Mothers Day.

Taking its title from Heidi Murkoff's how-to book, What to Expect When You're Expecting has as much to do with its source material as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex ... did, which is to say not much.

The plot is a handful of rom-com ideas that couldn't sustain a movie on their own, so director Kirk Jones shuffles them, prolonging their easy resolutions. The movie is as artificially padded as the abdomens of Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker, playing women reminding us that babies are "miracles . . . from two scoops of angel kisses."

Wendy (Banks) wants a baby so much that she started a breast feeding movement before getting pregnant. Her meek husband, Gary, (Ben Falcone) is excited about the news, until his overbearing, NASCAR champion father Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) one-ups him again by expecting twins with his trophy wife, Skyler (Decker).

If any subplot here deserves more attention, it's this one, with Skyler's supermodel pregnancy comically contrasted with Wendy's back pains, bloating and gas. Banks delivers the best scene in the movie, when Wendy hysterically confesses to her fans that pregnancy isn't all it's cracked up to be. Quaid's proud-papa swagger is appealing enough to make you overlook the dumb golf cart race solving problems with Gary.

This is one of those movies in which everyone is somehow related, so let's connect the scattered dots. Gary eats his feelings, so he once appeared on a weight-loss TV show hosted by Jules (Diaz), whom we meet when she's appearing on a celebrity dance show. Jules celebrates her victory with partner Evan (Matthew Morrison) by tossing her cookies on national TV. They've been doing more than rehearsing the mambo.

Watching at home is Rosie (Anna Kendrick), a food truck operator whose beer bet with a rival vendor named Marco (Chace Crawford) leads to a one-night stand and pregnancy. Rosie has a left-field connection to someone already mentioned, that wouldn't spoil anything if revealed. Marco drives his food truck over a buddy's foot for a reason to be at the hospital when babies start popping.

Meanwhile, Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) tearfully seek to adopt an Ethiopian orphan, and Chris Rock leads an amusing daddy daycare brigade offering Alex dubious advice.

That pretty much sums up the movie's mood swings, from tragic to wacky on the turn of a sonogram, with little of it feeling genuine. If this is what mothers are about, then why didn't What to Expect When You're Expecting arrive last weekend for their special day?

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

Comments
Three movies are in the works about Hulk Hogan and Gawker. Will they remember who’s the victim?

Three movies are in the works about Hulk Hogan and Gawker. Will they remember who’s the victim?

Sonny BunchAccording to Vulture, there are three separate movies in the works about the downfall of the New York-based gossip blog Gawker.One is based on the book Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue; it will be a...
Published: 06/21/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

OPENING FRIDAY:JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOMDinosaurs: Keep them alive or kill them off? It’s a question that haunts the human characters in between fireball-dodging cardio workouts in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the spectacularly ho-hum new ent...
Published: 06/20/18
‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

It’s been 14 years since the premiere of Brad Bird’s beloved animated superhero film The Incredibles, one of the mega-hit Pixar films that cemented its reputation for film humor and heart that would satisfy both parents and children. With cool mid-ce...
Published: 06/13/18
Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Neighborly block party comes to downtown Tampa.
Published: 06/12/18
 ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

If beloved children’s television show host Mr. Rogers were once a representation of all things milquetoast, in the summer of 2018, his message of love and tolerance is not only saintly, it’s radical. In the deftly crafted documentary Won’t You Be My ...
Published: 06/12/18
Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Most every successful heist movie, just like a heist itself, functions by obeying a well-defined formula.First comes the setup and backstory (typically involving the righting of a wrong, to lend the subsequent lawbreaking a veneer of moral justificat...
Updated one month ago
TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

The last surviving munchkin in The Wizard of Oz has died.Jerry Maren, 98, died last week at a nursing home in San Diego, according to TMZ.The cause of death for the last surviving member of the famous Lollipop Guild, made famous in the 1939 classic, ...
Updated one month ago
‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

BLIND SIDE: Summer Classic Movie SeriesAll summer long, Tampa Theatre is showing classic Hollywood movies. Sunday features not only a screening of 2009’s The Blind Side, but also actor Quinton Aaron, who played Big Mike in the film, for a Q&A. Based ...
Updated one month ago
In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy noted in a sentence so right, by the time you started arguing with it Anna Karenina was off and suffering.If Tolstoy got a look at Hereditary, he might’ve added: ...
Updated one month ago
Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Hotel Artemis is a shining example of how it isn’t the amount of money spent to make a movie, but how the budget is being spent. Director/writer Drew Pearce has managed to take the money that would be the cape-pressing budget for most superhero movie...
Updated one month ago