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What To Expect When You’re Expecting In A Movie

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
May 18, 2012

Babies! Babies babies! Pregnancy and babies! Babies and pregnancy! Strollers full of babies!

These are just a few (okay, all) of the themes currently being used to promote What To Expect When You’re Expecting, the new film based on the self-help book of the same name, which I believe is the book that compares babies to fruits and vegetables based on gestational age, but maybe I’m thinking of What To Expect When You’re Expecting Truly Delicious Produce.

At any rate, there are a few things that make the new film hard to predict, because it certainly seems like it would be … dumb, but it has some genuinely funny people in it (they include Rob Huebel, Chris Rock and Elizabeth Banks, and they do not include Jennifer Lopez). Moreover, it was co-written by Shauna Cross, who previously wrote the novel and co-wrote the screenplay for the marvelous roller derby film Whip It, so it’s tempting to hope it will be better than the poster.

The poster, of course, presents all the women according to the Belly Language Of Cinema, in which pregnant women really only have a few dimensions.

On the left, you see Elizabeth Banks, presented here as the awkward, unhappy, about-to-give-birth woman — the one who’s about to throw her legs in the air and ask for boiling water and sheets torn into strips so that she can, I guess, make some mummies while she’s in labor? Whatever, anyway. She’s certainly got the stupidest clothing on, including that impractical ribbon belt and whatever the flowery stuff on her shoulder is. When you’re as close to delivery as she looks, maybe it’s not the time for elaborate sweaters you could hide a cat in.

Anna Kendrick is the concerned, anxiously belly-cradling woman who experiences pregnancy as a crisis in which you are forced to mature too fast. Pregnancy in the movies very often is portrayed as the thing that forces people to grow up (to grow …. knocked up, geddit?), and you can tell Anna Kendrick represents not having grown up yet, because she is wearing boho bracelets and her bra straps are hanging out. Adulthood is the process, apparently, of getting pregnant and putting something over your tank top when you’re at a party with your friends.

Cameron Diaz represents the woman who’s just very cool with being pregnant — you can tell she hasn’t worn anything but yoga pants since she conceived. Just lots and lots of yoga pants, which she probably stretches on some sort of a frame, which she bought at Pottery Barn, which allows her yoga pants to fit perfectly at every stage of her pregnancy.

Brooklyn Decker is the pregnant woman who has gone insane. Just look at her sweater. Well, and her … face.

And then there’s Jennifer Lopez, playing the pregnant woman as the personification of bossy worrying. Where Kendrick is playing nervous ambivalence, Lopez is playing “you better not screw this up, buddy” bad-assery, signaled by her “simmer down” hand gestures, panicky face, and large amount of jewelry.

The other amazing thing about the poster is that all these women, based on the gifts lying around, seem to be at a baby shower together. All of them! Are at a shower! And they’re all really, really, really pregnant. I have to say, if you find yourself at a baby shower where every single lady there has a giant belly, you might want to consider the possibility that something your particular group of friends served at one of your previous parties has affected the guests in unexpected ways.

Don’t get me started on the dads at the bottom of this poster, by the way. Chris Rock is the only one who seems to have figured out that the baby goes in the stroller, and he seems to only have noticed that because he has three babies and was like, “Okay, I have to put these other two somewhere. I wonder if I could put them in this thing with the wheels on it.” [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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