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Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers, Published May 17 2012

Review: Don't expect much from 'What to Expect When You Are Expecting'

“What to Expect When You Are Expecting” is loosely based on the popular pregnancy guide by Heidi Murkoff. The film and book share a title and both contain pregnant women. Any other similarities are purely coincidental.

A group of women deal with impending motherhood in different ways. Cameron Diaz is a TV fitness guru who becomes sexually involved with her dance partner (Matthew Morrison) during a “Dancing With the Stars”-type show.

Jennifer Lopez plays a woman who takes the adoption route and Anna Kendrick's a food truck chef who lets one night of passion on the hood of a car change her life.

This merry maternity band is completed by Elizabeth Banks as a woman who gets pregnant after many failed attempts.

Their stories meander around and occasionally bump into one another. Director Kirk Jones is like a one-armed juggler - he can't seem to figure out how to get a scene started. And once it gets going, he lets everything come to a crashing end. Jones never finds the kind of rhythm that's necessary to keep so many story lines in motion.

The transitions are sloppy and the characters are not appealing enough to make us long for the next update on their maternal journeys.

To make matters worse, there's a support group of fathers - under the guidance of Chris Rock - who meet to complain about how their lives have changed. The idiotic tone of the conversations stands out like a rash and is twice as annoying when played against the often emotional moments with the impending mommies.

The performances aren't bad. Kendrick continues to prove that she can turn a weak line into something magical. She's just needs to avoid roles like this one.

And Brooklyn Decker, who plays a beauty whose pregnancy is so perfect she delivers with just a small sneeze, is far funnier than this film deserves.

Except for name recognition from the millions who have read the how-to-give-birth manual, there's no reason a movie should have been based on Murkoff's book. It's just not the kind of work that makes for the basis of a solid script.

“What to Expect” runs 110 minutes. It feels like nine months.

"What to Expect When You are Expecting"

Century 10

Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content.

Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Grade: C-minus