Review: ‘When the Bough Breaks,’ Blame a Scary Pregnancy Surrogate
Morris Chestnut, of “Rosewood,” and Regina Hall, of the “Scary Movie” franchise, are John and Laura Taylor, a well-off couple unable to have children.
Perhaps you were wondering if it were still possible to wring any suspense out of an unbalanced-third-wheel plot. “When the Bough Breaks,” about a surrogate pregnancy gone horribly wrong, has a definitive answer: No, it isn’t.
Morris Chestnut, of “Rosewood,” and Regina Hall, of the “Scary Movie” franchise, are John and Laura Taylor, a well-off couple unable to have children. They are down to their last viable embryo when a gorgeous 21-year-old named Anna (Jaz Sinclair) appears at the surrogate-mother recruiting agency and seems to be the answer to their prayers. In short order, she is carrying their child.
Apparently, John and Laura don’t go to the movies much, because if they did, they would know that whenever you invite a third person into your happy domestic bubble, whether it’s a roommate or an exchange student or a nanny, only bad things can happen. Anna turns out to be not quite as stable as she appeared, not to mention having a creepy boyfriend (Theo Rossi of “Sons of Anarchy”).
John, a high-powered lawyer, is forced to be the type of inconsistent character you need to make this brand of story work: really smart, except when he needs to not be. His decision-making when Anna starts coming on to him — this woman will bathe or shower at almost any time of day — is pretty terrible. His wife, though, isn’t around to see a lot of it because, conveniently, she has to make a business trip.
There’s not an ounce of suspense in any of this, because you’ve seen it all before, and the director, Jon Cassar, seems uninterested in veering from the well-established formula. Perhaps you’ll pass the time wondering whether Hollywood needs to give the reductive, crazy, sex-obsessed female character a permanent rest.
“When the Bough Breaks” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) for a lot of titillation. Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes.