By Jessica Marshall
Ahhh birth. The miracle of life. And one of Hollywood’s favorite plot points.
Birth scenes in movies range from shouty and grunty to creepy and gooey and often leave viewers with the highly philosophical question: What is that baby really covered in?
You’ll get birth scenes in spades when you catch “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” the new star-studded rom-com opening today. Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Chris Rock and Anna Kendrick are just a few of the celebs who bring to life the wacky rollercoaster ride that anticipating a brand new bundle of joy can be.
It’s loosely based on the bestselling self-help book by Heidi Murkoff (there’s probably a well-worn copy stashed somewhere in your parents’ house), and focuses on five couples as they anticipate parenthood. There are lots of preggo bellies, raging hormones, slapstick humor and moments of sheer terror — err, joy.
But just like giving birth in reality, you should be prepared. There are many different types of cinematic births. Here is a smattering of a few of the more notable ones to get you ready for “What To Expect.” Think of it like taking a pre-film Lamaze class.
Violent Birth: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1”
The birth of Renesmee, the half-vampire, half-human spawn of Bella and Edward Cullen, is a bloody good time. Punctuated by the sounds of ripping flesh, flashing red and yellow lights, and what seems like gallons of fake blood throughout, this highly anticipated birth scene flat-out induced seizures in several folks around the country who saw it in theaters. It’s definitely not for the squeamish.
Water Birth: “The Back-Up Plan”
This rom-com stars Jennifer Lopez as a perennial bachelorette who gets artificially inseminated in a moment of desperation, only to meet her soul mate later that day. The film is notable for a certain scene in which JLo’s character and her would-be baby daddy (Alex O’Loughlin) witness a home water birth, complete with a plastic inflatable pool, animalistic noisemaking, unidentified floating objects and a bongo-drumming hippy, played by a hilarious pre-“Bridesmaids” Melissa McCarthy. Words cannot describe this chaotic scene that brings the term TMI to a whole new level.
The Creepy Supernatural Birth: “Children of the Damned”
If you’ve always dreamed of having kids at the same time as all of your best friends, we’re pretty sure you didn’t mean it to happen like it does in this 1995 John Carpenter flick (a remake of a chilling 1960 classic) starring Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley and Linda Kozlowski. This horror movie opens with an evil presence sweeping through a small American town, mysteriously knocking up its female residents. Exactly nine months later, there’s a blond baby boom that starts with a mile-long caravan of cars on their way to the hospital (which is actually a barn converted for the occasion) and ends with a shrill chorus of howling moms and mewling, questionably human, infants. This one isn’t so much gross as it is creepy.
The Sympathy Pains Birth: “Nine Months”
Hugh Grant plays his signature role of the ever-bumbling bachelor in this 1995 Chris Columbus romantic comedy. When his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, Hugh’s character is forced to man up in the course of nine months and stick with her. He does, but not before he faints (along with the also-bumbling and squeamish doctor played by Robin Williams) in the delivery room after getting an eyeful of the process.
The ’80s Birth: “She’s Having a Baby”
Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern (long before she became the mistress of “Downton Abbey”) star in this late-’80s comedy from John Hughes about newlyweds adjusting to society’s expectations of them — namely that they immediately start popping out babies. The film is pretty light-hearted until the end, when they actually have a baby. Then it turns all crazy dramatic when there’s a complication with the birth and Kevin Bacon’s character ends up sobbing like a little girl in a hospital waiting room. Don’t worry though, it has a happy ending.
Bonus — The Man Birth: “Junior”
Now this one doesn’t happen often in movies, but it bears mentioning because, well, it’s not everyday that you see Arnold Schwarzenegger giving birth via c-section. The Governator takes one for the team in this 1994 Ivan Reitman comedy that reunites him with his “Twins” co-star Danny DeVito, playing a devoted fertility research scientist who agrees to become a test subject and carry a baby to term — in his own body. This one gets bonus points for the hilarious (and kind of terrifying) dream sequence brought on by pregnancy hormones in which Arnold’s character gives birth to a baby that has his adult face.
What’s your favorite weirdo birth scene? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!