Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
When I saw the story about Nanny McPhee director Kirk Jones being set to direct a romantic comedy based on a book, I did what I always do if the material is unfamiliar: checked a few sources to see if it seemed like a promising idea. I should have realized that What to Expect When You’re Expecting might not be a piece of fiction, but still: a romcom based on a book meant to guide women through pregnancy? This makes board game movies look sensible. Also: the ghost of Dr. Spock is pissed.
Deadline breaks the news, saying that the script has already been written by Heather Hatch, with a rewrite by Shauna Cross (Whip It!). The film is set to be a Love Actually sort of anthology, with stories of five couples experiencing “the surprises that happen when a stork visit is imminent.” (Disclaimer: no storks will actually be in this movie.)
What’s most interesting about this is that there are people out there who absolutely hate this book. Just over a fifth of the comments on Amazon for the 4th edition are one-star, calling it ‘fear-based,’ ‘alarmist’ and ‘anxiety-driving.’ And there’s this opening paragraph from a 2005 New York Times article:
When newly pregnant women visit Brigham Obstretrics and Gynecology, a practice affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, they are handed a sheaf of primers on prenatal tests, morning sickness and the like. The tone is calm and brisk, but a page of recommended books carries a warning: “*WE * DO * NOT * RECOMMEND * ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting.’ “
Give me a romcom where the couples are all terrified of the babies that are about to be born, and this might go on the watch list. If not, I’ll just do a double-feature of It’s Alive and Grace.