Pop Culture

The 5 Most Offensively Unrealistic Pregnancy Movies

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pregnancy movies Look, I’m not fool enough to believe that mainstream Hollywood films are meant to be anything other than vehicles for common folk like me to temporarily escape our dreary daily lives. And hey, I’m fine with that most of the time – chances are, if I make the conscious choice to watch a fluffy flick starring the likes of Cameron Diaz, I’m probably not in the mood to see my everyday existence cinematically mirrored. But now that I’m pregnant (again), I can’t help but notice (again) how outrageously, offensively unrealistic the experience of bringing a child into the world is usually portrayed on the big screen. Full makeup during labor? Perky round baby bumps that appear overnight on otherwise perfectly toned bodies? Not even freaking close. Of course, idealized appearances are part of every big-budget blockbuster package; as such, I can excuse a little lip-gloss in the delivery room. The rest of these mama-to-be movie misdemeanors, however, are not quite so forgivable.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012)

I don’t know about you, but I started to get suspicious about the “What to Expect…” movie the minute I heard it was supposed to be based on the best-selling pregnancy guide of the same name. Considering that a more appropriate title for said guide would have been something along the lines of “What Horrific Life-Threatening Disorder Your Baby Will Almost Definitely Develop This Month if You Don’t Restrict Yourself to a Diet of Cottage Cheese and Wheat Germ,” I couldn’t imagine what sort of roles Diaz or J. Lo might be playing. (Maybe one of them would sit in a rocking chair and stare off into space like that depressed lady on the cover of the book for the entire movie?) Luckily, the film turned out to be not really based on the book at all…except not luckily, because I would have rather watched Elizabeth Banks eat cottage cheese for two hours than be forced to witness the actress (who actually has some genuine comedic talent) play a woman who tells her husband she’s pregnant by jumping into a pool fully clothed with two handfuls of positive preggers tests. Okay, fine – her character, “Wendy,” is supposed to be a “baby expert,” the owner of a maternity store called The Breast Choice; she and her husband had also been trying to conceive for awhile, so maybe she would be excited enough at the big news to take a dip in her dress. (By the way, how exactly did Wendy become so passionate about breastfeeding and such before she ever had any children? This is never explained.) Following that logic, maybe she’d even be over-the-top cautious enough to do something like violently smash the cell phone of her employee (the heaven sent Rebel Wilson) in an attempt to protect her “miracle” from its potentially dangerous emissions. But…I doubt it.

Wendy sort of redeems herself later on in the narrative; her “pregnant lady meltdown” is probably the movie’s best scene. Cameron Diaz’s “Jules,” on the other hand, gets exactly one split second of believability in 110 minutes: The moment during her labor when she cries, “I can’t do it.” Apart from that one tearful admission, it’s all impossibly adorable maternity workout clothes, implausible amounts of energy and looking ridiculously refreshed while on bed rest.

Knocked Up (2007)

There is one very important distinction to make between “Knocked Up” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”: “Knocked Up” can be pretty funny at times. Still, that doesn’t mean the Judd Apatow-helmed project is particularly relatable for moms. (Probably fairly relatable for dads, however. Make no mistake – this is a movie made by and for men.) Let’s begin with the moment Katherine Heigl’s “Alison” begins to suspect her drunken one-night stand with “Ben” (Seth Rogen) may have had unintended consequences: She throws up, quite suddenly and violently, during an on-air interview with James Franco (Alison is an entertainment journalist). Why do all surprise pregnancies in movies (this happens to Cameron Diaz in “What to Expect,” too) announce themselves with these incredibly abrupt and dramatic displays of morning sickness? As anyone who’s suffered with morning sickness in real life can tell you, violent puking can certainly happen, but it’s almost never a surprise – it’s more like a form of punctuation to the horrible, constant queasiness you’re feeling all the time anyway. It’s not like, “Hey, where’d that crazy puke attack come from? That sure was some bad timing! Good thing I feel fine now and my hair still looks amazing!”

Then there’s the straight-up ridiculous scene in which Alison and her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) head to the store for a pregnancy test – wait, make that half a zillion pregnancy tests. The sisters go feverishly careening through the aisles, grabbing up nearly all the tests on the shelves, and it’s all very zany and over-the-top and whatnot, but hello?! Those things are expensive!! At roughly $15 a pop, one has to figure Alison and Debbie spent at least several hundred unnecessary bucks on their lunatic shopping trip. Really, $30 would have been more than sufficient.

Once Alison knows she’s having a baby for sure, there are some nice sincere moments of doubt regarding her relationship with Ben and what their future holds. At least she doesn’t have to worry about her professional life, though, because – wouldn’t you know it?! – her boss just loves the idea of putting a pregnant reporter in front of the camera. So not only is her job safe, she’s practically getting a promotion! That’s always how it works out in real life when a woman tells her employer she’s expecting, right ladies? (Especially a woman whose job includes red carpet appearances.)

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