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What to Expect When You're Expecting

Movies | Director Kirk Jones creates a film adaptation of the go-to pregnancy guide

Issue: "Effective Compassion," June 16, 2012

The saying goes that God has a sense of humor, so He created pregnancy. A journey of expanding proportions, pregnancy is a transformational shattering of self, leaving plenty of raw material for humorous minds. Director Kirk Jones seizes the opportunity with his film adaptation of the go-to pregnancy guide-What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Riffing on the nuances and variations of pregnancy and parenthood, this PG-13 movie provides snapshots of five expectant couples as they approach Delivery Day, revealing a truth our culture ignores.

The album begins when fitness star Jules (Cameron Diaz) and dancing king Evan (Matthew Morrison) discover their duo is becoming a trio. Determined to keep her fitness show at all costs, Jules battles for control, but learns it's illusory at best.

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Meanwhile, former fitness contestant Gary (Ben Falcone) and his wife Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) finally get pregnant. A breastfeeding guru, Wendy is thrilled to experience the beauty of motherhood. She didn't factor in the added girth-units, cankles, and mood swings, though.

Feeling manly at last, her husband Gary loses his gusto when his father (Dennis Quaid) announces that his trophy wife, Skylar (Brooklyn Decker), is pregnant-with twins.

The retired race-car driver and his gorgeous wife pose for a tacky maternity picture. Their photographer, Holly (Jennifer Lopez), weeps over the fact that she and her husband, Alex (Rodrigo Santoro), are unable to have children. When they decide to adopt internationally, Alex joins a stroller-pushing dad's club led by Chris Rock to help him prepare.

Unlike Alex and Holly, the local food truck kids, Rosie and Marco (Anna Kendrick and Chase Crawford), had no prep time before learning their night in the park had a multiplying effect. They decide to stay together and have the baby, but when Rosie miscarries, there's pain and heartache to work through.

Though peppered with bawdy humor, sexual innuendo, and occasional profanity, this simple film touches on the highs and lows of maternity and offers a backhanded endorsement of life, revealing the truth that parenthood is a miraculous and wonderful blessing.

Stephanie Perrault
Stephanie Perrault

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