I guess, as soon as I see Chris Rock in the credits, I automatically think of a complete laugh-o-rama. That's what I thought when I saw the trailers of Kirk Jones' "What to Expect When You're Expecting".


I really never took in consideration that Jones directed "Waking Ned Devine" and "Everybody's Fine" - two films that ha humorous moments but could at best be considered light dramas. Nor did I consider that Anna Kendrick generally has a dramatic, serious nature to her characters - they are never fun!


Nevertheless, I sat down with my yuck-yuck cap waiting for the jokes to begin.

The film centers around five couples as they deal with upcoming parenthood. Jules (Cameron Diaz) & Evan (Matthew Morrison), Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) & Gary (Ben Falcone), Holly (Jennifer Lopez) & Alex (Rodrigo Sabtoro), Rosie (Kendrick) & Marco (Chace Crawford), and Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) and Ramsey (Dennis Quaid).


Jules is a fitness guru who has a Biggest Loser type show and is accustomed to being the boss. Her man Evan is a celebrity dance competitor who likes to run the show. Things get testy as they battle over decisions such as whether the baby boy should be circumcised or not.


Wendy is a woman who teaches natural birthing and natural nurturing without the benefit of ever having a baby... now is her chance when she and her husband are expecting. Unfortunately, his dad Ramsey - a retired race car driver - and his very young hot wife Skyler are also preggers. To his dad, it becomes a race to see who's pregnancy is best.


Holly and her husband are seeking to adopt though he has his doubts. She sends him to join a group of fathers who meet everyday and discuss what it's like to be a dad. they make the most fun of their errors. Whatever is said in the groups, stays in the group. They are trying to convince him it's okay, but doing a lousy job.

The other couple - Rosie and Marco - isn't even a couple, they were old high school friends who became rival truck chefs. They have a casual sexual encounter once and she becomes pregnant. He see's his single life flash before his eyes.


Along the way, reality hits for of the five couples (one couple sails through breezily) as just becoming a parent proves to have it's twists and turns including a miscarriage, a difficult pregnancy, financial troubles and relationship issues. The one consistent lite spot being the fathers group that make dad's seem like incompetent boobs.


Chris Rock is his usual jocular self but the rest is rather serious. This is not "Bridesmaids" for pregnancy. And that is the problem, it's difficult to tell what was the intent. Is it suppose to be a comedy or what?


Because the film weighs itself down with drama, some of the characters become cardboard cutouts like you might find in "New Years Eve" - Lopez's Holly and Falcone's Gary are perfect examples. Ever since directing "Waking Ned Devine" Jones seems to have forgotten how to keep an ensemble interesting.


"What to Expect When You're Expecting" isn't bad, it's just disappointing. It winds up relying on a running gag with a clumsy kid to get laughs while burdening the audience with too much realistic drama.   -- GEOFF BURTON