While watching the comedic ensemble adaptation of Heidi Murkoff’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting, it’s easy to assume that someone thought it would be wise to take a ubiquitous, bestselling how-to guide, secure a Garry Marshall-sized cast of A-, B-, and C-list celebrities, and come up with some semblance of a script in order to make a mass-market slice of summer entertainment.

Just like He’s Just Not That Into You explored the relationships of singles and marrieds in a major metropolitan area, WTEWYE explores the relationships of singles and marrieds in a major metropolitan area — this time with baby bumps thrown into the mix. In a nifty opening that swiftly introduces most of the film’s cast, we meet Jules (Cameron Diaz), a ripped fitness expert who gets knocked up by her dance partner Evan (Glee‘s Matthew Morrison) while competing on the DWTS-inspired Celebrity Dance Factor. Alex and Holly, a cosmopolitan couple who realize their urban-chic loft is in need of a baby-friendlier makeover to make them ideal candidates for an adoption, are played by the photo-shoot-ready Rodrigo Santoro and Jennifer Lopez respectively. Baby-crazy author and boutique owner Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) realizes pregnancy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be while her husband Gary (Bridemaids‘ Ben Falcone) competes with his NASCAR celebrity dad (Dennis Quaid, having a ball), who’s having twins with his “born in 1986” wife, Skyler (the perky Brooklyn Decker). And then there’s food truck entrepreneur Rosie (Anna Kendrick), a twentysomething who ends up having a one-night stand with player Marco (the I-know-I-look-good-in-V-necks Chace Crawford) and dealing with the consequences.

Directed by Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine), the film doesn’t do much to clarify — or doesn’t seem to care — how all of these characters are connected. If you’re expecting an effortless blend of storylines of near-Love Actually proportions, then go ahead and Netflix that 2003 gem instead. Most of WTEWYE consists of scenes that have been sloppily slapped together, posing as a sunshiny display of the variety of pregnancies couples face. And as a result, we get a montage of fart jokes, hormone-induced rages (seen in every other film that ever featured a pregnant woman), and manipulative money shots of babies blatantly cued to make the audience go “Awww” in unison. That said, this movie will either make childless women across America scramble for those baby name books…or throw their ticking biological clocks out the window.

The movie, however, takes a pleasantly surprising (and emotional) turn when Alex and Holly take a trip to Ethiopia to meet their bundle of joy. Having the film focus more on their journey and experiences in a foreign land probably would have made for a more compelling and effective story. But alas, there’s isn’t enough time to squeeze in the rest of the 20 or so speaking roles. What we get instead are a couple of scenes in which a nervous Alex hangs out with a bunch of superdads (Chris Rock, Tom Lennon, Rob Huebel, and Amir Talai) in the park to learn few tips on fatherhood. And that’s where this ensemble comedy suffers: there’s too much of an ensemble and not enough time to emotionally invest in each character.

If you’re expecting a comedic contemplation on the challenges of impending parenthood, then expect less.

2.5 out of 5 stars.