R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle
**In theaters and On-Demand July 24, 2015**
Synopsis: Samantha Abbott (Cobie Smulders), is a dedicated and passionate teacher at an inner-city Chicago high school. Just as she is coming to terms with her school closing, Samantha faces some life-changing and unexpected news: she is pregnant. After breaking the news to her supportive live-in boyfriend John (Anders Holm) and opinionated mother (Elizabeth McGovern), Samantha learns that one of her most promising students, Jasmine (newcomer Gail Bean), has landed in a similar but very different situation. As the women navigate their ambitions for the future, whether tackling the painfully hilarious realities of pregnancy or challenging each other to think beyond motherhood, Samantha and Jasmine forge an unlikely friendship that will challenge their perspectives and leave a lasting impact on one another.
Review: UNEXPECTED is actually exactly what you would expect from the cover and synopsis; a very predictable and pandering look at the lives of two socially diverse pregnant women. The writers (Megan Mercier/Kris Swanberg) don't even want to attempt clever twists or out of the box dialogue. So what you have is a safe, cookie-cutter story that is truly not worthy of the talent of the two leading ladies.
Smulders recently kicked butt in the comedy RESULTS and we know she can nail personality from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. So to see her having to deliver these lines in this scenario was painful. Gail Bean is not as familiar a face but there is no doubt she has some acting chops. She carries her character perfectly and delivers when called upon.
The white female teacher and the underprivileged black student is so overdone.The scenarios and life options that they each face is almost comical in their predictability. Even swapping roles would have given it some-sort of uniqueness.
The main issue with the film is it doesn't know what it wants to be. This could easily be a Saturday afternoon LIFETIME film (and excel) for women. It has the template, the stereotypical characters, the predictable lines, and the attempt at emotional manipulation. Even the poster screams daytime television. There are no sexual situations or violence or mature themes. But, the F word is used a dozen or so times. Unnecessarily. And totally out of character. Its as if the writers again had no idea how to be edgy or creative. Mercier is a talented woman. When i saw her name attached and then witnessed the outcome i was a bit shocked. Intelligent women should be better at writing intelligent women characters.
Bottom Line: I have no idea who this movie is for. If you are unfamiliar with Smulders work please do not let this be your first and only opinion of her. If you love the made for TV movie fodder then you might stomach it. But this just doesn't deliver.