Inspired by Heidi Murkoff's best-selling pregnancy-advice manual, which made its debut in 1984, this is an ensemble comedy about five disparate couples whose paths crisscross as they're starting a family.
There's Holly (Jennifer Lopez), an Atlanta freelance photographer who is far more excited about adopting a baby from Africa than her anxious music-producer mate Alex (Rodrigo Santoro), so she suggests that he meet with a friend's husband who is part of the macho "daddy dudes" support quartet, wheeling strollers through the park, led by Vic (comedian Chris Rock, who provokes the picture's biggest laughs). Meanwhile, self-centered Jules (Cameron Diaz) is a high-octane television fitness coach, while Evan (Matthew Morrison from TV's "Glee") is a celebrity dance show star -- and they're into crisis mode about the concept of circumcision, among other things. Former high-school classmates-turned-competitive food-truck vendors, flirtatious chefs Marco (Chace Crawford) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick), are stunned to discover she's got a `bun-in-the-oven' -- after only one hook-up. Then there's stressed-out Wendy (Elizabeth Banks), who owns Breast Choice, a maternity/lactation shop, and has written a militant book extolling the joys of breast-feeding; after trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for two years, when she and her mild-mannered husband Gary (Ben Falcone) finally conceive, Gary's hypercompetitive, retired car-racing dad, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), announces at a family brunch that he's having twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler (Brooklyn Decker), a beautiful blonde who is still doing Pilates while pregnant.
Traditionally scripted by Shauna Cross ("Whip It") and Heather Hach ("Freaky Friday") and directed by Kirk Jones ("Waking Ned Devine," "Nanny McPhee"), it's not only contrived, redundant and cliche-laden but it's also loaded with obvious product placement plugs, particularly for Delta Airlines. And although unpredictable hormones are raging, don't look for any brave single mothers or adventurous same-sex couples, because nothing even superficially challenging is allowed within this slickly packaged obstetrics production.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is a feeble 4, a floundering mom-com that gives short-shrift to the `expectant' experience.