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Entries in Chace Crawford (2)

Friday
May182012

What to Expect When You're Expecting

If What to Expect When You’re Expecting is indicative of real life experiences for waiting parents, then childbearing must be full of clichés, caricatures and contrivances. It must be like a desperate, unfunny screenplay that thinks it’s exploring the spectrum of pregnancy possibilities when really it knows no more about the event than the characters that are going through it. This sad excuse for a film takes the miracle of childbirth and trivializes it with cheesy dialogue, over-the-top melodramatics and bad comedy. It’s not one of the worst of the year thanks to a solid cast that does as much as they can with very little, but it’s still fairly awful.

The story is comprised of individual vignettes of characters who are all, whether they like it or not, expecting a baby. First we meet famous health guru, Jules (Cameron Diaz), a current contestant on the latest celebrity dance show, who discovers she and her dance partner, Evan (Matthew Morrison), are expecting after throwing up on stage at the end of a live taping. Later we are introduced to Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and her husband Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) who are unable to have babies and are looking into adoption. Meanwhile, baby crazy Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and her husband Gary (Ben Falcone) are so eager to raise a child that they set their phones to alert them when Wendy is ovulating. Their careful planning eventually works and Wendy soon finds herself with a baby bump. In an interesting coincidence, Gary’s dad, former racecar driver Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), and his young trophy wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) are also expecting. Finally, there’s a young couple, Marco (Chace Crawford) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick) who have sex just one time in the heat of the moment and find themselves facing something they aren’t ready for.

As is a problem with many movies of this type where multiple stories are juggled in a small amount of time, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is sloppy. Nearly all of the stories are rushed through, underexplored and underdeveloped and the result is a disconnected mess. Most movies will try to somehow link these stories together so it feels like there’s a reason for them to be told, but the majority of these characters never cross paths, unless you’re speaking in the literal sense in that they occasionally walk by each other, a lazy transition between already lazy stories if there ever was one. The longer this goes on, as you wait for it make a point or take an unexpected turn or, well, do anything at all, the less tolerating it becomes.

Any promising moment is ruined by its need to tell its stories quickly for the purpose of shortening the runtime (an unfortunate effect of vignette movies). For instance, when the young one time sexual offenders, Marco and Rosie, find out they’re pregnant, one would suspect them to contemplate abortion because, regardless of your stance on the issue, it’s a natural thought for scared young people who suddenly find themselves facing a responsibility they’re not sure they can handle to have. Marco does indeed allude to it by asking what Rosie’s going to do about her situation, but then it’s glossed over, almost like the question was never raised in the first place. When the movie eventually gets back to them after spending time with the other characters, their decision has been made and they’re fully devoted to having the baby. Their evolution is far too fast and strips the film of any realism.

Normally with these types of films, there are at least one or two stories that outshine the rest, but that’s not the case here. All, including the supposed-to-be-funny group of dads who support each other’s parental negligence, are bland and thinly written. The cast is game and most retain their charm—Elizabeth Banks is still affable and Anna Kendrick is as lovely as ever—but the best cast in the world couldn’t make these characters come to life. Simply put, there just isn’t much to What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I would say it’s a failure, but I’m not sure it was even trying.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting receives 1/5

Saturday
Aug072010

Twelve

Coming out of Sundance 2010, Joel Schumacher’s Twelve was being heralded as the worst movie at the festival by some critics. Now it is in limited release and having just sat through it, I can see why. It’s pretty rare for me to give out scores of zero, despite having recently done so for Charlie St. Cloud and Step Up 3D, so I almost feel bad for doing it again here. Almost.

The basic plot of the story is this: there’s a new drug in town called twelve that is making its way around the streets and messing people up. But within that basic story are dozens of characters whose lives intersect, convoluting it all. There’s White Mike (Chace Crawford), the local drug dealer who is still mourning over the death of his mother to breast cancer. His cousin Charlie is hopped up on twelve, though Mike doesn’t supply him with it. He refuses to carry such a drug. Lionel (50 Cent) is Mike’s supplier and is about to have a violent run in with Charlie and a young African American kid named NaNa (Jermaine Crawford). NaNa is on his way home from a game of basketball where he has just been in a fight with Hunter (Philip Ettinger), a rich kid from the Upper East Side, who is about to be accused of murder.

There’s also Sara (Esti Ginzburg), the hottest girl in her school, Molly (Emma Roberts), who has been friends with drug dealer Mike since childhood, Chris (Rory Culkin), the local party thrower, Claude (Billy Magnussen), his steroid taking, unstable brother, and Jessica (Emily Meade), a new junkie who will do anything to get her twelve fix. The list goes on and on. Believe it or not, I haven’t even finished listing all of the characters in this overstuffed film. In fact, before all of them are even introduced, two are killed off. There’s simply too much going on and the descriptive anecdotes for extraneous characters like Chris and Claude’s maid was unnecessary.

Although I suspect this is intentional, the characters in the movie are deplorable. Most, if not all, are rotten rich kids who have every opportunity in the world right in front of them, but squander it due to their drug use. The females in the movie are the type of girls who are so infatuated with themselves that if a guy doesn’t hit on them, they write them off as gay. The guys are all morons whose desire to score with women is the only thing that trumps their desire to score dope. All are poorly juggled. Twelve jumps back and forth from each putrid character like a fly at a picnic ground.

It’s easy to hate the characters from moral and intellectual viewpoints, but the movie is simply too laughable to keep you too angry. Take Jessica for instance, who, as told through ridiculous narration by Kiefer Sutherland, has kept every stuffed bear ever given to her. Well, after taking a hit of twelve, they start to talk to her in a cutesy voice you’d expect to hear in children’s television shows, asking her who she would kill if given the opportunity. It’s supposed to be unsettling, but instead it’s just really, really funny.

By the time Twelve reaches its end, you’ll have already checked out, but that won’t stop memories of the Virginia Tech massacre or the recent Connecticut shootings from infiltrating your thoughts. The climax is so reminiscent of these tragic events that its depiction is downright irresponsible.

To get a good idea of what Twelve has in store for you, consider this: 50 Cent gives the best performance. Take that as you will. My advice is to skip it, but if you really want to see a movie about snooty rich kids suffering through their own self inflicted problems, by all means give it a go.

Twelve receives 0/5