Hysteria is a romp, and all the more fun thanks to the corseted and bustled costumes and the interesting slice-of-history story line. Lionsgate's women's offering is What To Expect When You're Expecting, set, alternatively, in the very present day and inspired by the 1980s runaway best-selling advice book by Heidi Murkoff. Directed by Kirk Jones (Everybody's Fine, Nanny McPhee), the film follows five couples undergoing varied versions of becoming new parents.
Jam-packed with yet another crop of Hollywood A-listers, the cast includes Cameron Diaz playing Jules, a Jillian Michaels-type personal trainer who gets knocked up by her dance partner on a Dancing With the Stars-type show. Her way of dealing with pregnancy is by keeping her exercise routines going, in contrast with Wendy (Elizabeth Banks), owner of a lactation supplies store, who ends up pregnant after years of trying and finds the whole deal — and especially the third trimester — slightly revolting and totally exhausting.
Wendy's ever-supportive husband Gary (Ben Falcone) is over the moon with the impending new arrival until his millionaire retired race-car driver dad (played a little too enthusiastically by Dennis Quaid) one-ups him by announcing that he and his trophy wife (Brooklyn Decker) are expecting twins.
Anna Kendrick, who is always good, plays Rosie, a young food truck chef who finds herself in a family way after a first date. But most endearing of all is Jennifer Lopez as Holly, a photographer who, after a long struggle with infertility, decides to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. A bit intimidated by the notion, her husband Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) joins a father's club — allowing us to meet uber-dad Vic, played by Chris Rock, who offers up the film's funniest moments.
Expecting is by no means a great movie nor a display of terrific acting, but it's funny and charming and totally and completely women's fare. And it's a perfect complement to the slightly more sensible, but also silly, Hysteria.
You may also like: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a love story.