What’s unexpected about the movie “Unexpected” is its light, and respectable approach to faith, grace and love.
Amy and Bob want a baby.
Well, Amy does, anyway. Bob wants Amy to be happy. I mean, he loves her, after all. And since the doctors say Amy isn’t physically able to give birth to a child, Bob was wholeheartedly on the babies-are-so-wonderful wagon.
But when Amy suggested adoption, his enthusiasm took a hit. I mean, there’s just something about raising a kid with somebody else’s DNA that kinda bugs him.
Is that wrong?
Is that selfish?
That’s the question the new comedy “Unexpected,” (now streaming and in theaters) from Blue Fox Entertainment. It stars Anna Camp (True Blood, Pitch Perfect) as Amy, Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park, The Pacific, The Social Network) as Bob, and Neil Flynn (Scrubs, The Middle, CSI) as Rupert.
The couple has tabled the discussion for now, but the subject has been weighing on Bob so heavily that he can’t do his writing job all that well. He’s had to go to a therapist. And he’s now popping Zoloft like gumdrops.
As far as the always cheerful Amy is concerned, her thwarted maternal instincts have turned her toward other projects. She pushed her hubby to purchase a fix-it-up farmhouse (though Bob isn’t the least bit handy). And then there are the animals she’s adopted: an aggressive rabbit; some domestic ducks; more ducks; and turkeys! You name it. If it hops, flaps or waddles near Amy, she wants to wrap it in her loving arms.
And all of that makes Bob want to run for the hills. While upping his dosage.
This can’t be healthy. Isn’t life supposed to work out? Why doesn’t God fix this stuff? He wants them to be happy, right? Isn’t that how it works? Shouldn’t He give them a sign, like maybe have a baby float by in a basket or something?
Ugh! Life is so hard.
Amy and Bob have their nice sides, though they’re both a bit too neurotic and flighty to be consistently held up as good examples. That said, they voice their love for each other and go the extra mile to make their marriage work.
Amy and Bob also reach out to encourage others. The couple meet a young girl named Shirlee, for instance, who’s pregnant out of wedlock and now distraught.
“You just made a mistake,” Amy tells the girl. And when Shirlee worries that she’s going to hell because of it, Amy reassures her that God loves her.
Shirlee ultimately meets and marries a loving man. And they raise her son.
Amy and Bob also change their minds about the possibility of adopting a child. Bob reasons that a family isn’t about bloodlines and DNA, it’s about the people, the love and the ongoing relationships in the family. It’s about “what you are to me, and I am to you. And what we are to our children and our children’s children,” Bob lovingly declares.
The film has undertones of faith though it should not be considered a faith-based film. Amy and Bob keep an eye out for “signs” in the course of normal life that might give them direction, but the signs they spot rarely lead them anywhere.
The couple purchases a rabbit that Bob kind of hates. But after the animal dies, a saddened Bob is surprised by his emotional response. He buries it and builds something like a mini-shrine to the deceased animal. Amy prays that God will accept the rabbit’s soul. Later, Bob prays a similar prayer for another lost animal.
People talk about children being a “gift from God.”
Songs in the movie’s underscore declare that Jesus and God watch over us and see us through the difficulties of life. And several character conversations suggest the same.
That’s fairly straightforward for a Hollywood film that doesn’t originate in the Christian film production industry.
From a dramatic perspective, Unexpected—the story of a couple desperately seeking a baby and a family—is an odd-duck. It veers almost manically between being a slaphappy to being somber.
That said, there are some uplifting bits and nice performances that peek through the film’s veneer. This lightly faith-focused tale ultimately communicates solid truths about the life-changing and joyful aspects of adoption. And it tells us repeatedly that God can transform our mistakes in positive ways if we simply reach for His help and get out of the way.
The film is unrated but looks to be PG.
–Bob Hoose with PluggedIn, a ministry of Focus on the Family.