By Matt Singer | Criticwire May 18, 2012 at 2:00PM
Barbed Wire is the place where Criticwire celebrates the art of the pan. Here's where you'll find the roughest, toughest, funniest reviews, with easy access links to both article and author so you can follow more of their work.
Now playing in theaters everywhere, a little miracle (make that a very little miracle): "What to Expect When You're Expecting," based on the eternally best-selling pregnancy guide by Heidi Murkoff. The film is in the tradition of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)," and "He's Just Not That Into You" -- movie adaptations of non-fiction advice books. In this case you've got Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, and Anna Kendrick all grappling with various baby mama dramas (or comedies, as the case may be). So how is it? Well, let's just say I wouldn't call it a crowning achievement (although I would try desperately to work that terrible pun into a review round-up about the film). If you don't want to take my word for it, the critical consensus has my back; here's ten great lines from ten bad reviews of "What to Expect When You're Expecting":
"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."
"Even though it doesn't have a story, characters, or setting, Heidi Murkoff's mega-bestselling, 28-year-old pregnancy manual, 'What to Expect When You're Expecting,' actually makes perfect sense as a vehicle for a contemporary Hollywood ensemble comedy. For an industry banked on bathroom humor, what could be more suitable than this vomit-, piss-, fart-, foreskin-, and flabby-vagina-filled tome?"
"The movie's attitude is so repugnant that it deserves its own special warning: This movie may cause you to seek an immediate vasectomy."
"'What to Expect When You’re Expecting' lives up to its title, not because it bears any resemblance to the popular pregnancy guidebook that 'inspired' it, but because it is, indeed, what a moviegoer should expect from a genre in which an ensemble cast of famous, pretty faces is loosely strung together by an innocuous holiday or, in this case, baby-having."
"'What To Expect When You're Expecting' could scare you away from having a baby for life. It is the birth control of movies."
"It’s said that the only reason women are capable of giving birth more than once is that they forget about the pains of labor once it’s all over. Here’s hoping that audiences unfortunate enough to see 'What to Expect When You’re Expecting' undergo a similar bout of amnesia."
"Couples fight over baby names and whether or not to circumcise, mothers demand an epidural that they initially refused (aren’t we past that gag yet?), while fathers cling to their dignity at weekend park meet-ups where worn-out men like Thomas Lennon and Chris Rock -- as, apparently, the only black man in Atlanta -- can gripe about their taxing lifestyle before doubling back on those sentiments in the third act."
"Makes one long for the comparative complexity and subtlety of 'Valentine's Day.'"
"If 'What to Expect' represents the best tearjerking laugh-machine that Hollywood can birth, it’s probably time to get those story ideas implanted in vitro."
"Expect that two hours will feel like nine months, and that before it’s over you’ll be screaming for an epidural to your brain."
"What to Expect When You're Expecting" is now playing.