Like 90 percent of women, I bought a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Workman Publishing) as soon as I found out I was pregnant the first time around, nearly a decade ago. More than 15 million copies of the book have been sold in the 27 years since it was first published. The title alone is in every mother’s lexicon. Now the book—billed as “America’s Pregnancy Bible”—has now been turned into a feature film. Call it the Coles Notes version of the 616-page tome.
I’ve only watched the trailer for the movie, which is “inspired” by the book and looks mostly to take nuggets from the guide and weave its advice into the intertwining stories of five expecting couples. Personally, I don’t want to get my expectations up, but when I saw the trailer, I thought, “Yeah, I’ll probably go see that.”
There are a couple things holding me back from anticipating a great film, however, namely other motherhood movies, such as I Don’t Know How She Does It, featuring a frazzled mother juggling work and family. The movie, I found, was unfunny, to be nice, and depressing, to be perfectly honest. Watching it was like spending a really bad day with, um, yourself. Could we relate to this mother? Sort of. But did I laugh? No. As far as pregnancy flicks go, Knocked Up was funny because it was potty humour. Nine Months sucked as hard as a baby sucking on a soother. Still, if What to Expect is more in the vein of He’s Just Not That Into You, how could I not go see it with a girlfriend? After all, it’s hard enough to get a man to go see a chick flick, but a rom-com about pregnancy and babies? (I’ll pay any woman $20 if she can drag a man to this movie on a first date!) Anyone who has been pregnant knows that nine months can seem like a lifetime. So, I suppose the worst that can happen seeing a movie about pregnancy is that you lose 90 minutes of your life—that’s nothing compared to carrying a baby and labour.
The cast, I’ll admit, is stellar and includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Matthew Morrison, Elizabeth Banks and Chris Rock, to name a few. Still, the movie posters, which you can find online, feature photos of the stars alongside quotes like, “If I knew I’d have a rack like this, I would’ve gotten knocked up years ago.” (Somehow, it’s kind of annoying that Cameron Diaz has never been pregnant—and has said she is on the fence about having kids. And even if she were carrying triplets, somehow I can’t see her looking anything but gorgeous.) Then there’s Elizabeth Banks announcing, “I’m calling bull$#!%. Pregnancy sucks.” There are sure to be lines about Baby Brain and hemorrhoids and super-sized nipples. But is that funny, or tired? Still, with our mommy brains, does it really matter? The funniest part of the movie looks to be the pack of stroller-pushing fathers who aren’t afraid to own up to their lack of daddy skills, saying lines like, “I picked up the wrong baby from daycare.” As one guy proclaims, “There is no judging in ‘dudes group.’” These dads are okay with their incompetence, and that is fresh.
I’ll admit I never got through the book. (It should be called “1,000 Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Pregnancy.”) Ten years ago, I’d probably have opted for the movie. Now, expecting again, I’m hoping that a night out at the movies will bring on a few laughs, especially if they can turn this book into a Bridesmaids. But what I’m most looking forward to is seeing who is in the audience. Will it be wannabe moms? Or moms-to-be dragging along dads-to-be to show them that pregnancy and motherhood aren’t always a walk in the park? All I know is that if you think washroom lines are long after a movie, imagine the rush of pregnant women racing for a stall after this one. Now that, no doubt, will give me a chuckle.
Will you see What to Expect when it opens this weekend? If you’re looking for another great flick about parenthood, check out 5 of Our Favourite Pregnancy Movies and let us know if we missed your fave.