Chick-flicks are dangerous things. The only reason to watch one is that the lovely lady in your life would want you to. It is particularly dangerous for me because I have a habit of mocking movies that have weak plots. Seriously, in The Wedding Planner, he is a creep and she is a homewrecker and no amount of cute M&M’s will make up for that.
Unfortunately, this trait of mocking movies that my dear wife might like can make me an unpopular fellow. So it was with a little trepidation that I was asked to watch What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
The story follows several couples whose lives intersect with each other and are expecting a baby. The movie really does explore many of the ways you could be expecting including singletons, twins, international adoption, and a miscarriage. It explores several difficult topics like breastfeeding, the pressure on women from other women, working while pregnant. All of this sounds like perfect chick-flick territory and warrants my discomfort with the movie.
So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an excellent movie. As a man had four kids in two years and two moths, I laughed hard and frequently at the honest and common problems these couples faced. The classic pressure that women experience during pregnancy was throughout made clear. Of course there is the lady who just glowed and loved pregnancy talking to the woman who can’t walk, sleep, eat, or breath comfortably. I remember how miserable Sam was through all of her pregnancies.
But what makes this movie stand out is the strong male presence in the movie. The men are NOT props for the ladies to make fun of and complain about. They are real guys acting like guys who are struggling with fatherhood. The highlight of the film for me is the dude club which is a group of fathers that walk through the park and talk. There are two rules of the club.
- Don’t talk about the dude club.
- No judging.
Then throw several dad’s together and you get an irreverent, honest, and hilarious discussion. On watching them have lines like “(fatherhood) is where happiness goes to die” you could get the feeling that the movie is negative about children. Later in the movie, this same group forcefully affirms, “We love being dads.”
This is reflective of the conundrum that I feel. How do I discuss how tired I feel and yet communicate that I do love my children? Both can be true.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting really surprised me as a great movie for guys. If you’re a dad, give this movie a shot. It’s your best shot of watching a chick-flick that you and the lady in your life would agree on.