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DVD Review: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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If you want to watch a happy, light movie then What to Expect When You’re Expecting is just that. (That is if you are not a total douche that finds the subject of pregnancy unworthy of comedic material.) Set in sunny Atlanta, the movie has a cast of characters enough to fill an auditorium; none of them are disposable, all of them are memorable. How many movies can do that?

What to Expect When You’re Expecting focuses on the stories of five couples about to become parents.

Wendy (a sparkling Elizabeth Banks), an author of children’s books and owner of a pregnancy store, hadn’t been able to conceive with doting hubby Gary (Ben Falcone, who shone in Bridesmaids) for two years. So when the news of the growing baby bump arrives, they are ecstatic.

Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and Marco (Chace Crawford) have a completely opposite reaction when they learn their one-night stand has landed Rosie with child. They are very young, and Marco doesn’t even own a car. You get the picture.

Children’s photographer Holly (a touching Jennifer Lopez) and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) are planning to adopt. Alex is freaking out while Holly visibly aches for a child with every cell of her body.

Jules (Cameron Diaz), a muscular yet sassy fitness queen and reality TV star, has to figure out what to do her dance partner Evan (Matthew Morrison from Glee) when they get pregnant after a three-month dancing (and not just dancing).

The most comic couple is Gary’s father, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), an overcompetitive and loud ex-racer, and his hot young wife, Skyler (Brooklyn Decker, funny as hell). Skyler breezes through the pregnancy, even though she is having twins, enraging everyone around her. As a result she sends her daughter-in-law Wendy into a frantic confession at a televised event that goes viral. No wonder; she calls all pregnancy myths ‘bullshit’.

The film manages to retain the ‘glow’ that shines through Heidi Murkoff’s bestseller What to Expect When You’re Expecting without diluting the ugly truth about nausea, stretch marks, gas, pressure ‘down there’, heartburn, etc. Murkuff is expert at calming down the hysteria of neurotic mothers, and many grateful witnesses (including me) can testify that her pregnancy Bible has been helpful in the most dire situations, answering every question, no matter how dark and difficult, with the unwavering affirmation and optimism of a truly masterful mentor.

The movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting delicately deals with the darker issues of pregnancy, but essentially it is a comedy, and a well balanced one. By the time the ladies start popping the pacing gets perfect for you to get only a few moments of respite between bursts of uncontrollable laughter.

Any woman who has been drugged in labor, and any man who has been witness to the process will both laugh at and instantly relate to the ingenious observation of Wendy’s, ‘I love morphine. I should get some for the house.’ What to Expect When You’re Expecting never gets tedious or dull.

Not only is the movie a story of four couples (managed expertly, and not an easy thing to do), there are also many secondary characters keeping it moving and grooving. Rebel Wilson is hilarious as Wendy’s idiotic pregnancy store assistant Janice. ‘The Dudes’, a Greek chorus of ‘cool’ Dads headed by Vic (Chris Rock) appear on the horizon to the tune of Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Hypnotize’, and crack child-rearing wisdoms left and right as if throwing around martial arts kicks. Chris Rock’s Vic says he sometimes goes into stupor thinking of his four kids going to college. ‘Then I just punch myself in the dick and get over it’. This is exactly the attitude borrowed from Heidi Murkoff: you hurt, you find away to deal and move on.

Lions Gate Home Entertainment released What to Expect When You’re Expecting on a single disk DVD with a digital copy that can be played on Itunes or the Ipod. The format is 16×9 widescreen (2.35:1) and the sound is Dolby Digital with subtitles in English and Spanish.

The DVD includes lovely extras: The Dudes Unscrewed (12:11) which continues the hilarious ramblings of the vibrant dad group, What to Expect and the Pregnancy Bible (15:25) which is dedicated to the sensationally successful book and why it was adapted into a movie, with interesting Heidi Murkoff commentary as a bonus, and Deleted Scenes (05:03) which mostly stars Rebel Wilson, funny as ever, who is definitely the one to watch.

Verdict: we need more movies like this – life-affirming and funny. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is perfect for parents and expecting ladies.

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About Sviatlana Piatakova