What to Expect When You're Expecting (2012)
The plot: Wild hormone swings. Juggling work and pregnancy. Family rivalry. Fatherhood support groups. Five very different couples all experience the highs and lows of pregnancy and starting a family.
What you'll love: This rom-com isn't just chock-full of A-list stars (Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez), it also has plenty of drama. Among the plot twists? A regimented author who's overtaken by pregnancy hormones; a father and son who turn their wives' pregnancies into a competition; professional rivals who must overcome their differences before the baby arrives; and a famous couple who's desperately trying to balance fame and parenthood.
The takeaway? Life -- and pregnancy -- are anything but predictable.
Away We Go (2009)
The plot: After his parents drop a major bombshell -- they're moving to Belgium a month before the baby is due! -- Burt (John Krasinki) and his pregnant girlfriend Verona (Maya Rudolph) embark on an unforgettable cross-country road trip to find the perfect place to raise their child. Along the way, they discover that home really is where the heart is.
What you'll love: You'll get to see all sorts of moms in action, from brainy LN's (Maggie Gyllenhaal) zany attempt at a "continuum home" to the acid-tongued Lilly (Allison Janney) reprimanding her kids to the beautiful but heartbroken Munch (Melanie Lynskey), who's mourning her fifth miscarriage.
The takeaway? Family is what you make of it.
Baby Mama (2008)
The plot: Kate (Tina Fey), a career woman with baby fever and a T-shaped uterus, hires Angie (Amy Poehler), a dead-broke surrogate with a relaxed set of morals, to carry her child. The carefully constructed plan is blown to smithereens when it's revealed the Angie is indeed pregnant -- but not with Kate's baby.
What you'll love: Watching Kate try to mold Angie into the model mom-to-be is hysterical (and totally relatable!), but it's Angie's impressive chutzpah that delivers the most laughs. Exhibit A: The picture of a squirrel that she confidently passes off as an ultrasound.
The takeaway? You don't have to be perfect to be a great mom.
The plot: Jenna (Kerri Russell) is a small-town waitress in a bad marriage who wants nothing more than to make her delicious pies with quirky names. When she finds out she's pregnant with her deadbeat husband's (Jeremy Sisto) baby, she plots an escape that promptly goes awry when she falls for her hunky ob-gyn.
What you'll love: If the hysterical names of her creations don't get you laughing -- Bad Baby Pie, anyone? -- Jenna's WTF reaction to impending parenthood will. Yet even as she's dragged into motherhood kicking and screaming, the sweet-and-sour mom-to-be still gives hope to those of us who are still a little freaked out about becoming a parent.
The takeaway? You don't have to love pregnancy to be a fantastic mother.
Jennifer Love Hewitt: 5 Pregnancy Questions
Knocked Up (2007)
The plot: A one-night stand between Alison (Katherine Heigl), an up-and-coming entertainment journalist, and Ben (Seth Rogen), a stoner slacker, results in -- you guessed it -- an unplanned pregnancy. Deciding to keep the baby is easy for Alison; figuring out whether Ben is ready to be a dad is much tougher.
What you'll love: From morning sickness projectile vomiting to stressing out that your partner hasn't read all the baby books yet to clinging to your birth plan, no part of pregnancy is left untouched.
The takeaway? When it comes to parenting, the best stuff happens off script.
Maybe Baby (2000)
The plot: As this smart and funny British rom-com shows, TTC can be the most unromantic thing, especially when the lovemaking involves fertility rituals, sperm counts, and ovulation charts.
What you'll love: If watching the lengths to which Sam (Hugh Laurie) and Lucy (Joely Richardson) go to have a baby doesn't win you over, all the cool cameos will. Rowan Atkinson fusses as an overly eager gynecologist, Emma Thompson flies in for a brief spot as a New Age witch and muse, and Joanna Lumley appears as a lesbian boss lady.
The takeaway? Sometimes the most natural desire in the world -- to have a child -- can feel very unnatural.
Baby Boom (1987)
The plot: Advertising exec J. C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) inherits a baby after a distant cousin dies -- right as she's about to land a major account. After trying to juggle the demands of her high-powered job and raising a child in NYC, she decides to decamp to the country for a life that's anything but simple.
Why you'll love it: Motherhood doesn't come naturally at first to J.C. -- and it shows. (Like when she hands the baby off to the restaurant host before heading into a lunch meeting.) Still, watching this self-declared "Tiger Lady" transform into a bottle-juggling SAHM is absolutely hilarious. Also, you'll die over the 80's power suits.
The takeaway? The chances that "having it all" will look like you thought? Slim to none.
For Keeps (1988)
The plot: When high school senior and aspiring journalist Darcy (Molly Ringwald) accidentally gets pregnant by her steady boyfriend, Stan (Randall Batinkoff), the two decide that abortion and adoption aren't alternatives. So they rough it out on their own to pay the bills and raise the baby themselves.
Why you'll love it: This take on pregnancy, postpartum depression and the early days with a newborn is refreshingly unvarnished (but highly entertaining!). As a heavily pregnant Darcy puts it, "I'm itching everywhere, my ankles are fat, there's something hanging out of my butt, the article's not going good, and now I need a haircut."
The takeaway? Parenthood is tough no matter how old you are, but it's always worth the sacrifices.
Nine Months (1995)
The plot: Life is perfect for urbanites Samuel (Hugh Grant) and Rebecca (Julianne Moore) -- until they find out they're going to have a baby. While Moore is saintly as the patient, enthusiastic mother-to-be, Grant struggles openly, awkwardly and hilariously with impending fatherhood.
Why you'll love it: As a child therapist with an aversion to children, Samuel isn't a likely candidate as dad of the year. Still, with some help from new friends, and veteran parents, Marty and Gail Dwyer (Tom Arnold and Joan Cusack) and Dr. Kosevich (Robin Williams), Rebecca's bumbling OB, he's finally ushered into this new phase of life.
The takeaway? Nothing forces you to get real like a baby does.
She's Having a Baby (1988)
The plot: Getting married, finding a job and buying a house were a piece of cake compared to becoming a father, as Jake Briggs (Kevin Bacon) finds out when his wife, Kristy, (Elizabeth McGovern) gets pregnant.
What you'll love: TTC is no picnic, as we watch Jake (and his tight shorts) take the blame for the couple's failure to conceive. Inevitably, the pressure gnaws away at his sex drive and he resorts to subterfuge. "Hiding from my wife, hiding from my manly obligation," he says, "our love nest had become a stud farm."
The takeaway? During birth, great husbands and fathers are born as well.
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