By Nate Bloom
“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is a romantic comedy about five couples, with intertwined lives, who are all facing the challenges of impending parenthood. There are so many storylines that I cannot lay them out all here. Suffice it to say that 14 actors and actresses are given co-starring billing, including Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock and Dennis Quaid. The only Jewish thespian in the bunch is ELIZABETH BANKS, 38. The title, of course, is familiar — first published in 1984, the pregnancy guide of the same name as the film consistently tops the NY Times paperback best-seller list and has sold over 15 million copies, including updated versions. The guide’s co-authors, HEIDI MURKOFF and SHARON MAZEL are executive producers of the film, as is ERIK MURKOFF, Heidi’s husband since 1982 and the father of their two children. (He has a theater production background.) WHITNEY PORT, 27, the reality show star (“The Hills”), fashion designer, and author, has a cameo in the flick as herself (Opens May 18).
Respected critics are virtually unanimous that “Darling Companion,” directed by LAWRENCE KASDAN, 63, and co-written by Kasdan and his wife, MEG GOLDMAN KASDAN, is not up to the standard of his best films, like “The Big Chill” and “Grand Canyon.” The plot: Diane Keaton co-stars as Beth, a woman who suffers from empty nest syndrome when her youngest daughter (Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”) is on the cusp of leaving home. Her husband, Joseph (Kevin Kline), is a busy physician who isn’t super sensitive to Beth’s needs. Beth finds a stray dog and for a time that makes her happy. But the dog goes missing and Beth blames Joseph. Finally, they enlist a gypsy psychic (Israeli actress AYELET ZURER, 42) to help find the dog. The strong cast includes Richard Jenkins and Diane Wiest in supporting roles (Opens in Cincinnati on June 1).
Kline and Kasdan, by the way, have known each other for 32 years and this is their sixth film together. Kline’s late father was Jewish, but he was raised in his mother’s Catholic faith.
Jesse and Hasty Return
The Robert B. Parker mystery novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) have been turned into eight CBS television movies since 2006. The newest one, “Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt,” airs on CBS on Sunday, May 20, at 9 p.m. In this one, Stone finds himself struggling to get his police chief job back. He’s also attempting to work through a thicket of clues to solve a shocking mob-related double homicide. Veteran actor SAUL RUBINEK returns as Hastings Hathaway, a character he has played in five “Stone” movies. Hathaway is Stone’s unlikely friend: he’s a car dealer who once was a corrupt town councilman. Rubinek was born (1947) in a refugee camp in allied-occupied Germany. He grew up in Toronto. His parents survived the Holocaust because a family of Polish Catholic farmers hid them for over two years. Rubinek’s 1987 book, “So Many Miracles,” and PBS/CBC documentary of the same name, chronicled his parents’ reunion with their saviors.
“I’m pretty Jewish…when I’m in New York, I become super-Jew. When I’m in LA I’m like a California surfer girl.” So said actress MILA KUNIS, 27, in an interview she gave, a decade ago, to JVibe, a now defunct Jewish young people’s magazine. (The interview is still online. Google “Kunis” and “JVibe”.) This quote and other parts of the JVibe interview (including Kunis talking about anti-Semitism in the Ukraine, where she was born) were published in the awful Brit tabloid, “The Sun,” last week. The Sun didn’t credit JVibe and made the Kunis quotes look “brand new.” Frankly, I wasn’t surprised when a raft of Jewish and general media outlets fell (again) for the Sun “paste-job” and reported the quotes as coming from “the Sun’s interview with Kunis.” The Sun’s article was a sidebar to a recent poll of Sun readers in which they voted Kunis “the hottest woman in the world.”
While I hate the “Sun,” I have to give kudos to their readers for recognizing that Kunis is very sexy even though she isn’t fair, tall, or buxom — like the winners of most “hottest woman” polls are. Yes, Kunis is objectively very attractive. But, her “hotness,” I think, comes from a certain “It” factor that includes more than her physical beauty. I know in that “hot mix” is a lot of acting talent, intelligence and likeability.