Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: L!fe Happens vs. What To Expect When You’re Expecting, two romantic comedies about the awesome and not-so-awesome times that come with having babies.
PremiseL!fe Happens tells the story of two single best friends, Kim (Krysten Ritter) and Deena (Kate Bosworth), and what happens when one night of unprotected sex leads to a baby for the former. Mix in a love interest, Nicolas (Geoff Stults), left unaware of Kim’s baby situation, and you have the dramatic linchpin of the movie (along with, you know, the raising a baby thing).
What To Expect When You’re Expecting, meanwhile, includes multiple mommy-to-be storylines, with Holly (Jennifer Lopez), Jules (Cameron Diaz), Wendy (Elizabeth Banks), Skyler (Brooklyn Decker) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick), who follow different paths to becoming a parent—including adoptive, perfect, painful, late, and unexpected motherhood. We also get the male perspective of the process, with a talented pack of leading men: Vic (Chris Rock), Ramsey (Dennis Quaid), Marco (Chace Crawford), Davis (Joe Manganiello), Craig (Thomas Lennon), and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro). Acknowledging the fact that both films are, by their nature, bound to be cheesy, we’re going to give it to What To Expect for its ridiculous and hilarious rapport of the dudes group.Advantage: What To Expect When You’re Expecting
Rom-Com All-StarsBoth movies have their fair share of experienced romantic comedy actors. In L!fe Happens, we get Kate Bosworth (Win A Date With Tad Hamilton!), Rachel Bilson (Waiting For Forever), Krysten Ritter (She’s Out of My League, Confessions of A Shopaholic, What Happens in Vegas), Kristen Johnston (Bride Wars, Music and Lyrics, Finding Bliss), and Geoff Stults (Wedding Crashers, She’s Out of My League). That’s a solid showing; now onto the cast of What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Its stars have certainly suffered some career lows—Gigli, Definitely, Maybe, Just Go With It, What Happens In Vegas, The Back-Up Plan—but they’re also responsible for some truly excellent romantic-comedy achievements. These movies include: There’s Something About Mary, The Parent Trap, The Baxter, and Love Actually, which was great. Don’t deny it. And so, the men and women of What To Expect When You’re Expecting will win this one for all of their extensive experience.Advantage: What To Expect When You’re Expecting
TitlesWhen it comes to romantic comedies, titles tend to be simple versus esoteric, and we have no surprises here. What To Expect When You’re Expecting derives from the title of the best-selling book of the same name. No surprises there. And L!fe Happens comes from the minds of the screenplay co-writers, the film’s star Krysten Ritter and director Kat Coiro. We were planning on going for the least annoying of the two titles, but we think there’s a little irony hiding in the corny punctuation and universalism of L!fe Happens that’s kind of funny.Advantage: L!fe Happens
Best Baby JokeOur pick for best baby joke in What To Expect When You’re Expecting comes at about 1:27, when Brooklyn Decker sneezes a baby out. However funny that physical comedy is, Kristen Johnston delivers this category’s winner at 2:00 into the L!fe Happens‘ trailer with: “It makes me crazy nowadays that people have children when there are so many dogs that need forever homes.” Crazy dog people never cease to amaze us.Advantage: L!fe Happens
MusicBoth trailers start off with peppy intro music while setting up the storylines, then they branch off into their storied rom-com trailer music routes. Life Happens goes with the sweet, acoustic song “Clementine,” by Sarah Jaffe, which ties in with the movie—Jaffe sings about boys, lies, and crying all the time, subjects, in most cases, related to having a baby. What To Expect When You’re Expecting goes the ironic gangsta route with The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa,” which mentions poppas, ladies, and having babies. And since we’re pretty sure the latter will one day be on our pregnancy playlist, What To Expect When You’re Expecting takes the win.Advantage: What To Expect When You’re Expecting
DirectorWhat To Expect When You’re Expecting is directed by Kirk Jones, who has four feature film directing credits to his name including 1998’s hilarious Waking Ned Devine, which he also wrote, as well as Nanny McPhee and 2009 drama Everybody’s Fine, which starred Robert DeNiro, Kate Beckinsale, and Drew Barrymore. L!fe Happens is directed by newcomer Kat Coiro, who has only directed shorts in the past. Coiro does have a movie in post-production called A Case of You starring Peter Dinklage, Evan Rachel Wood, and Sam Rockwell, which sounds super promising, but we’re going to err on the side of experience and give it to Jones.Advantage: What To Expect When You’re Expecting
VerdictWe admit there is a throw-as-many-stars-into-this-thing-as-possible quality to What To Expect When You’re Expecting, but there’s also a good director at the helm; we get a good mix of stars and funny comedians; and there’s no Ashton Kutcher in sight. While we do like the actors in L!fe Happens, the funny-ish title and promising writing, it’s just not enough to persuade us.Winner: What To Expect When You’re Expecting
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