I would say a large majority of parents have had first hand experience, at least, thumbing through Heidi Murkoff’s mega-bestselling manual, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It is arguably the most basic, most common, and most derided parent-to-be book in consistent publication today, as it has been since 1984. Some swear by it, while others swear its best use is as a doorstop or something to pass along to lesser-enlightened beings than yourself – kind of like smallpox. Regardless, the book still sells a ton and has now been made into a major motion picture being delivered to theaters this weekend.
On the same weekend that the Hasbro game Battleship is being transformed into a 3D military carnage festival on screens, it seems like a nice accompaniment to have What to Expect… as a counterpoint to all that death and mayhem. But to be clear, even though What to Expect… is based upon a how-to book, it is not a documentary, it is a big budget Hollywood ensemble comedy with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, and Denis Quaid (to represent the aged of the group). Pregnancy happens, panic sets in, and hilarity ensues.
To be clear, I have yet to see this film, and I promise that as soon as I make it through the 4th edition of the original text, I will be lining up to see the filmic version. So this is not a review of any sort. I will leave the reviewing to those who have seen the film and are far more snarky than myself. Like Eric Hynes of The Village Voice who says of the film:
“But for all the fear and loathing that Murkoff’s bedside text engenders, its journey ends with the beginning of a new life, whereas the movie leaves you hoping for a swift end to your own.”
But he is just one guy, and probably not quite the target market for such a film. While I am sure this filmic adaptation will not outdo the muscle of Battleship in the box office, it will probably rake in more money than any other movie adaptation of a pregnancy guide, and hopefully entertain (rather than instill panic) of the few that elect to see it.
What is your feeling about What to Expect…? Were you a fan of the book? Where did it go wrong? Is it unfairly maligned? Do you have hopes that the movie will be any better?