DVD Roundup: Biological Clock Edition
I will totally cop to being in the age bracket for these films, and a sucker for bad chick flicks. So try to be original when mocking my taste in films this time. What to Expect When You're Expecting and I Don't Know How She Does It are both about moms, the first expecting and the latter experienced. Expecting has 5 intersecting stories of women that are pregnant, by choice, design, or accident - Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) is a baby-less mommy expert married to Gary (Ben Falcone). Gary's former racecar driving father, Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) has knocked up his incredibly young second wife Skylar (Brooklyn Decker). Skylar's cousin Rosie (Anna Kendrick) drives a food truck, and has a chance meeting with Marco (Chace Crawford) and ends up preggars. One of Wendy's work partners, Holly (Jennifer Lopez) is a photographer who is about to adopt a baby. The outside story that starts us off though reconnects by the end is Jules (Cameron Diaz) a TV fitness guru who is sleeping with her "Dancing with the Stars" rip-off partner Evan (Matthew Morrison), but it's true love (even though she's a bitch). We watch them all try to deal with being pregnant - some are overjoyed, shocked, terrified, spoiled, etc. It's funny and, based on my own friends, fairly realistic.
One of the funniest elements to the story is the "men's group", a group of dads, some the spouses of other supporting characters, that gathers to confess to being bad parents without getting in trouble with their wives. Chris Rock heads this group, strolling 3 kids plus one in tow. They explain the rules to some of the expectant fathers - no squealing on each other (they drop kids, screw up changing diapers, forget them, etc.). Again, it's funny and honest seeming, though probably gives dads a pretty bad rap - most of the guys I know are pretty great dads. It's a surprisingly funny movie, with good small performances. Usually movies with this broad a cast (it's got almost everyone from Bridesmaids except Wiig and Rudolph) struggle trying to give everyone a balanced storyline. This really focuses on Wendy and Jules at opposite ends of the group and gives just enough time to the others that you care about their stories, but we have something driving it along that will end in 9 months - a surprising success based on a How-To type book.
I Don't Know How She Does It was a Sarah Jessica Parker flop from last fall. I blame this mostly on the marketing - they showed the most stupid plot devices, like SJP stepping out of the story to talk to the camera (which she only does once or twice) and the times she narrated her "lists". Basically, she's a Wall Street fund manager who is good at her job, loves her family, and can pretty much do it all. Obviously, she can't, but thankfully we don't watch her screw up too big to forgive. She and Greg Kinnear have good chemistry and you actually believe that she wouldn't leave him for Pierce Brosnan. We see her attempt to succeed at work, support her husband, and deal with her kids.
The device of everyone in the story being interviewed (faux mockumentary style) doesn't work, but it's fun watching Christina Hendricks (SJP's best friend, single mother who always screws up snack) and Busy Phillips (annoying perfect mom) whine about how SJP can do anything. Brosnon is a client trying to woo SJP, and Seth Meyers in the annoying ass at her office gunning for her job. This movie succeeds because it's not nearly as bad as it should be - so rising above expectations does give it a boost it likely doesn't deserve. But I laughed and I found all of the supporting characters kind of charming. Thankfully, other than the interview and talk to the camera techniques, the movie doesn't bother.