The Washington Post

‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’: A primer on its massive cast


Actually, it’s not so much a village as it is a posse of celebrity moms and dads who comprise a cast large enough to run its own daycare. Seriously, the child-to-parent ratios at the What to Expect When You’re Expecting Center for Infants and Toddlers would be off the charts.

With so many people in the cast of this rom-com that’s kinda sorta based on the most-read pregnancy manual in the history of childbirth, it can be challenging to keep track of everyone.

With that in mind, allow me to offer this guide to (most of) the cast of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” including a primer on how much we should have expected to see these actors appearing in a chick flick (opening Friday!) like this one.

Cameron Diaz

(Melissa Moseley/AP)

Role in “What to Expect”: A reality show host who becomes pregnant with a child fathered by her partner (Matthew Morrison) on a “Dancing With the Stars”-esque show.

Should we have expected to see her in “What to Expect”?: Probably. Diaz has a history of appearing in frothy rom-com fare, from “The Holiday” to “What Happens in Vegas.” So even though her next film, “Gambit,” was written by the Coen brothers, this is hardly a shocker.

Matthew Morrison

Role in “What to Expect”: The dance contestant who impregnates Diaz.

Should we have expected to see him in “What to Expect”?: Sure.. After three seasons as Will Schuester on “Glee” and the occasional minor movie part, Morrison is trying to prove he has big-screen appeal. From that perspective, this is a smart move for him.

Elizabeth Banks

Should we have expected to see her in “What to Expect”?: Owner of a breastfeeding boutique who learns that pregnancy and childbirth is super-hard.

Should we have expected to see her in “What to Expect”?: Not exactly. Banks has done romantic comedies before, but in most cases, she chooses funny fare with more edge, like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” or “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” Plus, she’s Effie Trinket now. She doesn’t need to scream about how much she needs an epidural for the purposes of amusing moviegoers.

Ben Falcone

Role in “What to Expect”: Banks’s beleaguered husband.

Should we have expected to see him in “What to Expect”?: Yes. Most of Falcone’s work has been in TV. But after romancing his own wife, Melissa McCarthy, in last year’s “Bridesmaids,” he landed the opportunity to once again play straight man to a borderline crazy female. This raises his profile a smidge.

Anna Kendrick

(Melissa Moseley/Lionsgate)

Role in “What to Expect”: Food truck cook who gets pregnant after a dalliance with a rival food truck cook (Yep, it’s that classic food truck hook-up storyline that was so popular in screwball comedies of the 1930s.)

Should we have expected to see her in “What to Expect”?: Uh, no. Anna Kendrick has both Academy Award and Tony Award nominations to her credit. True, she has appeared in the “Twilight” movies. But she’s never struck me as a rom-com girl. Then again, I never expected to see a rom-com with a plotline about food truck operators, so what do I know?

Chace Crawford

Role in “What to Expect”: The other food truck cook.

Should we have expected to see him in “What to Expect”?: Sure. Like his friend Morrison, Crawford is trying to transition from a teen-centric TV show (“Gossip Girl”) to more adult film roles. This is a small but decisive step in that direction. Interestingly, Crawford and Morrison are repped by the same manager; maybe he worked out a package deal?

Jennifer Lopez

(Melissa Moseley/Lionsgate)

Role in “What to Expect”: A photographer attempting to adopt an Ethio­pian child.

Should we have expected to see her in “What to Expect”?: Yes. The “American Idol” judge most recently starred in “The Back-Up Plan,” about a woman who falls in love on the same day she gets artificially inseminated. So technically, she was already kind of in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Rodrigo Santoro

Role in “What to Expect”: Husband of J. Lo.

Should we have expected to see him in “What to Expect”?: Yes and no. No, because he doesn’t normally do rom-coms; he’s been in movies like “300” and “Che.” Yes, because after being reviled by millions of “Lost” fans during his brief stint as Paulo, he must be happy to be in a nice rom-com, helping J. Lo fulfill her dreams.

Dennis Quaid

(Melissa Moseley/Lionsgate)

Role in “What to Expect”: Father of Ben Falcone’s character, who is expecting twins with his younger, attractive wife.

Should we have expected to see him in “What to Expect”?: Why not? He’s essentially playing himself. That’s an easy paycheck for Mr. Quaid.

Brooklyn Decker

Role in “What to Expect”: Hot young wife of Dennis Quaid.

Should we have expected to see her in “What to Expect”?: Yes. Between “Just Go With It,” “Battleship” and this film, she’s still trying to get her feet wet as an actress. An ensemble rom-com is a fairly comfortable way for her to do that.

Chris Rock

(Melissa Moseley/Lionsgate)

Role in “What to Expect”: Member of dad’s group who makes wry observations about having a family.

Should we have expected to see him in “What to Expect”?: Oh, hell no! I am aware that Mr. Rock’s recent movie choices have not been tour de comedic forces (“Grown Ups,” “Madagascar 87.”) But really, Chris Rock? You could have spent this “What to Expect” time on so many other things, like telling us how to feel about Trayvon Martin or developing persuasive techniques designed to convince Dave Chappelle to star in a buddy comedy with you. The first thing we all learn to do as parents is to prioritize. This should not have been a top priority.

There are more “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” cast members to discuss — Thomas Lennon, Rob Huebel, Kim Fields (yeah, you heard me, even Tootie has a bit part in this thing). But now I’m too tired and irritable to bother. You know, just like the movie version of a pregnant woman. Feel free to continue this conversation by posting a comment.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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