There have been a string of films in the past few years attempting to showcase real-life situations rather than unrealistic scenarios perpetuated by popular culture. These movies, like Knocked Up, Bridesmaids and even Forgetting Sarah Marshall,/ don't attempt to sugarcoat people's actions or emotions. "This is life," these movies proclaim, "it's dirty, messy, confusing, heart-breaking and never straight-cut." What to Expect When You're Expecting attempted to be such a movie by exploring the real problems and circumstances behind pregnancy, but fails miserably due to its star power.
Similar to the movies featuring genuine human actions and emotions, there has been a sudden increase in the past two years of movies flying solely on the coattails of their star power. New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are two shining examples of films that shove a dozen popular stars into multiple plotlines in order to appeal to a wider audience, resulting in a convoluted and unwatchable film. Expecting falls prey to this mistake.
There are so many stories that are weaved in and out of Expecting that, even though each character is taking a big step in adulthood, you have little time to care about any of them. Even if you start to care about one or two of the plotlines, none of them are developed enough to be satisfactory. The depth of each character's journey is sacrificed for breadth, and the film is weaker as a result.
Two of the stories -- one featuring Elizabeth Banks and the other featuring a house-husband group a la Fight Club -- were so complex that each of the stories could have made decent 90-minute films. The other plots had only about 20 minutes of screen time each, creating neglected characters and an uninterested audience. Combine all these plots and you have a 110-minute long film with no real heart.