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Battle of the bulges

Poster art of Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean in Unexpected, courtesy of Victor Frankenstein.
Poster art of Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean in Unexpected, courtesy of Victor Frankenstein.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but does the same hold true for movies and their posters? One look at the accompanying image gives pause for reflection (and gales of unexpected chuckles). Was the goal to provide more entertainment in the lobby than onscreen? Were Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean on the same continent, let alone in the same room, when the promotional art for Unexpected, opening Friday at Reading’s Gaslamp 15, was snapped?

Video:

Unexpected trailer

Unfortunately, the rest of the film is as much a cut-and-paste job as its one sheet. The hook: dueling pregnancies. A Chicago inner-city high-school teacher (Smulders), faced with her school’s closing, and her star student (Bean) form a bond when both of their home pregnancy sticks test light pink. Teach’s reluctant boyfriend finally mans-up with an engagement ring, while the pupil finds fault in her baby daddy’s inattentiveness. Throw in a ready-made unsympathetic mother figure (Elizabeth McGovern), and chances are viewers will do a more original job of tying up loose strings than the screenwriters. Basically, cut out “un” from the title. Everything you expect to happen does. With a 90-minute running time, Unexpected would fit comfortably, with room for commercial breaks, in a two-hour network time slot. How did it ever find a theatrical release?

Movie

Unexpected

thumbnail

A Chicago inner city high teacher (Cobie Smulders), faced with her school closing, and her star student (Gail Bean) form a bond when both their home pregnancy sticks tests light pink. Cut out “un.” Everything you expect to happen does. With a 90-minute running time, <em>Unexpected</em> would fit comfortably, with room for commercial breaks, in a 2-hour network time slot. Due to a habitual string of close-ups and wasted pans, director Kris Swanberg’s feature-length public service announce plays it TV safe in every sense of the term. (She’s married to mumblecore trailblazer Joe Swanberg, so chalk up the pesky hand-held camerawork to guilt by association.) With a nod to Simon and Garfunkel, you can hear the viewer snore amid the dangling camerawork and the superficial sighs that add boredom to our lives. With Elizabeth McGovern.

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When a character asks, “How do these girls get in these situations?” surely they must also be referencing the filmmaker. With its habitual string of close-ups and wasted pans, director Kris Swanberg’s feature-length public service announcement plays it TV-safe in every sense of the term. She’s married to mumblecore trailblazer Joe Swanberg, so chalk up the pesky hand-held camerawork to guilt by association.

With a nod to Simon and Garfunkel, you can hear the viewer snore amid the dangling camerawork and the superficial sighs that add boredom to our lives. Goodbye to Language can’t land a 3D playdate in the States, yet this gets a week-long booking in America’s Finest City’s finest theater. There is no God(ard).

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Poster art of Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean in Unexpected, courtesy of Victor Frankenstein.
Poster art of Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean in Unexpected, courtesy of Victor Frankenstein.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but does the same hold true for movies and their posters? One look at the accompanying image gives pause for reflection (and gales of unexpected chuckles). Was the goal to provide more entertainment in the lobby than onscreen? Were Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean on the same continent, let alone in the same room, when the promotional art for Unexpected, opening Friday at Reading’s Gaslamp 15, was snapped?

Video:

Unexpected trailer

Unfortunately, the rest of the film is as much a cut-and-paste job as its one sheet. The hook: dueling pregnancies. A Chicago inner-city high-school teacher (Smulders), faced with her school’s closing, and her star student (Bean) form a bond when both of their home pregnancy sticks test light pink. Teach’s reluctant boyfriend finally mans-up with an engagement ring, while the pupil finds fault in her baby daddy’s inattentiveness. Throw in a ready-made unsympathetic mother figure (Elizabeth McGovern), and chances are viewers will do a more original job of tying up loose strings than the screenwriters. Basically, cut out “un” from the title. Everything you expect to happen does. With a 90-minute running time, Unexpected would fit comfortably, with room for commercial breaks, in a two-hour network time slot. How did it ever find a theatrical release?

Movie

Unexpected

thumbnail

A Chicago inner city high teacher (Cobie Smulders), faced with her school closing, and her star student (Gail Bean) form a bond when both their home pregnancy sticks tests light pink. Cut out “un.” Everything you expect to happen does. With a 90-minute running time, <em>Unexpected</em> would fit comfortably, with room for commercial breaks, in a 2-hour network time slot. Due to a habitual string of close-ups and wasted pans, director Kris Swanberg’s feature-length public service announce plays it TV safe in every sense of the term. (She’s married to mumblecore trailblazer Joe Swanberg, so chalk up the pesky hand-held camerawork to guilt by association.) With a nod to Simon and Garfunkel, you can hear the viewer snore amid the dangling camerawork and the superficial sighs that add boredom to our lives. With Elizabeth McGovern.

Find showtimes

When a character asks, “How do these girls get in these situations?” surely they must also be referencing the filmmaker. With its habitual string of close-ups and wasted pans, director Kris Swanberg’s feature-length public service announcement plays it TV-safe in every sense of the term. She’s married to mumblecore trailblazer Joe Swanberg, so chalk up the pesky hand-held camerawork to guilt by association.

With a nod to Simon and Garfunkel, you can hear the viewer snore amid the dangling camerawork and the superficial sighs that add boredom to our lives. Goodbye to Language can’t land a 3D playdate in the States, yet this gets a week-long booking in America’s Finest City’s finest theater. There is no God(ard).

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