The 9 Most Scathing Critical Responses to What to Expect When You're Expecting

What to Expect When You're Expecting Bad Reviews

After months of humiliating posters and destabilizing trailers, the big-screen "adaptation" of Heidi Murkoff's megahit advice tome What to Expect When You're Expecting has finally arrived at multiplexes nationwide. Critical reactions are about as chilly as you might expect for a film that turns one of the most influential books of the last quarter-century into a kitchen-sink ensemble romcom; while director Kirk Jones's film does seem to have its following (21 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! Even A.O. Scott is into it! Sort of!), the overriding sense seems to be one of vague — or maybe not so vague — loathing. Let's cool off with a refreshing dip in the bile.

9. "The best seller What To Expect When You’re Expecting has been around for 28 years, making the book much newer than most of the jokes in this all-star movie." — Farran Smith Nehme, NY Post

8. "The cheerily childless out there don't get any screen time, not just because this is a film about having kids but because they wouldn't fit into the overall worldview, which is that you haven't lived until you've spawned, or, barring that, snagged a cute infant from Ethiopia." — Alison Willmore, Movieline

7. "In a year when women’s reproductive freedoms are constantly in the political crosshairs, What to Expect When You’re Expecting feels like just another affront to anyone who owns and operates a uterus." — Alonso Duralde, TheWrap

6. "Any movie that opens with Cameron Diaz tossing her cookies on the set of a Dancing with the Stars-esque reality show can’t be all bad, right? That’s the mother of all rhetoricals, and speaking of mothers: This mostly laugh-free pregnancy comedy, adapted from Heidi Murkoff’s pop-parenting best-seller, is at least a slight step up from director Kirk Jones’s last effort, 2009’s claw-your-eyes-out-awful Robert De Niro vehicle Everybody’s Fine." — Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

5. "I guess this picture should get some novelty points for providing a theme song to a miscarriage scene. David Gray's 'Forgetting,' in case you were wondering. Get it? Because there's always a next time? Despite the small pleasures the movie's performers strive to provide, I sincerely hope that no siblings are considered." — Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies

4. "Nutshell, meet review. Review, meet nutshell. I can sum up my feelings about What to Expect When You're Expecting in a single word: Ugh. [...] Ugh, because of the acting. Ugh, because of the dialogue. Ugh, because of characters doing ridiculous things and acting the way no reasonable human being on this planet would act/react. It's a comedy with few laughs, a romantic tale with zero sizzle, and, supposedly, it's a movie for both sexes. I say it's for neither. And stay away... stay far, far away... from this one on date night if you ever again hope to convince your partner it's your turn to choose a movie." — Rebecca Murray,

3. "Sure, it's just a silly, stupid Hollywood chick-flick, but the movie's attitude is so repugnant that it deserves its own special warning: This movie may cause you to seek an immediate vasectomy. [...] There is hardly a shred of believable human behavior in this film. Granted, I haven't hung out with a pregnant woman for nine months straight, but Banks's and Diaz's inanely hyperbolic performances sure do feel like the sort of caricatures that exist only in a Hollywood type's head. (By the way, it goes without saying that just about everybody in this movie is well-off enough that a baby will present no great financial burden to them. Too bad if you're sitting in the audience and can't afford a child — you're probably not worthy to be a parent anyway.)" — Tim Grierson, Deadspin

2. "The movie reads like an extended Caroline Hax 'Tell Me About It' column of petty complaints so stunningly self-involved, irresponsible, and selfish that what the movie needs most is a representative of Child Protective Services to take all the babies to better homes. [...] It is another measure of the movie’s disregard of its audience that we go back to the Dudes so they can reverse everything they said the first time. It is not that they have learned anything. The movie is just lazy enough to hope some warm 'parenting is wonderful' comments will erase the synthetic waste of celluloid (pixels?) that has gone before. No such luck." — Nell Minow, BeliefNet

1. "'End of day, family's all that matters,' says Quaid, never mind that his character's abusive fathering made his son into an obese neurotic. 'Kids—that's all we really leave behind.' If that's true, and if millions of years of biological, intellectual, and technological evolution must yield to shallow-field American family values, the least we can do is cop to our shoddy legacy. Let's start with this disdainful, demoralizing, grimly unfunny bastard of a film." — Eric Hynes, The Village Voice

[Reviews via Rotten Tomatoes]


  • Robery says:

    Really? Devoting a whole article to negative reviews? Reviews that don't even feel like reviews - they feel like snarky sound bites from reviewers that are trying to turn real film reviews into fluff pieces on the internet. Why do we take such pleasure in tearing others down? It's what I hate most about this business. I'm sure there were a lot of people on this film that care about it and glorifying their "failure" for readership doesn't do anything but make you look like a bully.

    • J says:

      They have been running these articles for as long as I can remember. They didn't just break it out for this poor excuse of a film. I, for one, think they're hilarous.

      Are you seriously offended? If so, I say "get a life, good sir,"

    • Cribbster says:

      Generally, I'd agree with you, but on this, I have to disagree. The reviews of a widely-panned movie are sort of a joy to behold. Have you ever read a wonderful review of a great film? Not really. They're useful. But they're not fun to read typically. A bad review is awesome. It's one of the joys of film commentary. Like a shootout or a breakaway in a hockey game or something. When a movie is as bad as this one appears to be, the public deserves to know before they plunk down their bills.

      • J says:

        Exactly. I'm more offended that the people who made this film expect us to pay $10 to watch this sh*t. They are the real bullies.

    • Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston says:

      Armond White contended that critics so hated "Jack and Jill" because it reminded them of things they don't want to be reminded of. As compensense, they go snark, deny themselves of vulnerability, steel themselves in cool. I groaned when I realized there was a self-help book behind the film, but it's too bad that I think it's mostly that we resent what it touched upon that'll keep us from having a conversation about the film. It wasn't hack; for sure there were things to like and reflect upon.

  • Robery says:

    I get what everyone is saying here - and I am not offended like "prop 8" offended but the bad reviews exist for everyone to read in all the major publications already - why recap them in an article on a site for film lovers? that's why i come to movieline. it's an easy article to write - and i expect better. don't need the extra dose of negativity on a friday.

  • simalex says:

    "I'm sure there were a lot of people on this film that care about it."

    You're right about that. This film certainly must have employed a lot of people and will help put many people's kids through school. Which is about the only good thing one can say about it -- that a lot of people got paid well to make it.

    • J says:

      Right. I'm sure the people involved in this film are ok with the scathing reviews, as long as the film makes money. And being a rom com and all, it probably will. It's just free speech. Just don't read the article if you don't want negativity.

      The headline isn't exactly hiding what is in the article.

  • The Real Cie says:

    I would probably get a bigger laugh off of an article containing multiple negative reviews of Twilight, but this was pretty entertaining.
    My 22 year old son proclaimed "well, that movie looks like a steaming pile of s**t," when he saw the advertisement for "What To Expect." I agree 100%, and I'm likely part of the demographic that's supposed to find it "cute."

  • Hailey says:

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  • Nevaeh says:

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