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Stereotype Watch: WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING – The Dude’s Group

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Until this morning, I had no idea that Lionsgate made a movie based on Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel’s best-selling book WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING. Indeed, we’ve got a copy of that book here in the house somewhere, along with two of it’s sequels – WHAT TO EXPECT: THE FIRST YEAR, and WHAT TO EXPECT: THE TODDLER YEARS. Making a movie out of a book with no characters and no storyline could’ve been an interesting task for the screenwriters, but when your main goal is to attach a parenting comedy to a recognizable brand name, I’m sure it was less difficult than it sounds on the surface. With a May 18 release date fast-approaching, the Lionsgate marketing machine is in motion, with a full trailer and a daddy-centric ”Dude’s Group” version making the rounds. Let’s take a look…

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From the Lionsgate PR: Inspired by the perennial New York Times bestseller of the same name, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING is a hilarious and heartfelt big screen comedy about five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood. 

A kaleidoscopic comedy as universal as it is unpredictable, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING finds humor and uplift in all the unexpected trials and triumphs of welcoming a child into the world. The film stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, Rodrigo Santoro, Ben Falcone and Joe Manganiello.

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DIAZPOSTEROfficial Plot Synopsis: Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don’t stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy’s husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who’s expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn’t so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a “dudes” support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco’s surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date?

My first reaction is that there’s a lot of the very typical, seen-it-before, depictions of pregnancy and childbirth going on here (Elizabeth Banks’ epidural scene, etc). My second reaction is that they’re aiming for the HANGOVER crowd for the guys. Since I don’t have any friends in my same age range that have kids, I’m not a part of a “Dude’s Group.” In fact, since I work-from-home and take my daughter to parent-tot classes and activities, I typically find that I’m the only “dude” around. So I don’t know what a gang of dads would be like. I also worry that the typical stereotypes might be presented as the norm. Sure, it’s a comedy – but the “Daddy is an idiot” gag continues to be played out. The casting looks good, though I could do without Jennifer Lopez, who’s had a habit of being an annoying presence in just about every movie she’s been in since 1998’s OUT OF SIGHT. Once “Jennifer” became “J.Lo,” it’s been a downhill slide. Side note: I met her ex-husband Chris Judd at a Christian Kane and Steve Carlson concert once. Seemed like a nice guy.

Closing thoughts on the first reactions? I’ll admit that WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING does look like it could be amusing. The inclusion of the late NOTORIOUS B.I.G. and the RUN-DMC collaboration with AEROSMITH taps into my youth. But, because we’re expecting another child in June, I’m not sure that we’ll be hitting the theater to catch this one on the big screen.

To reach the “Dude’s Group,” they’ve launched a Facebook page that as of this writing only has 222 “likes,” while the main movie page has 4,019.  I tend to think most men will avoid this movie unless they’re forced into a theater to do so. 

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