HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:69
Sometimes it’s nice to step back from the major blockbusters and enjoy a lower budget film that Alchemy hove video specializes in. Many times the films in this market genre tend to be hit or miss, with some fantastic gems to be found, but plenty more that will make you want to bang your head against the wall. “Unexpected” falls in the middle of this pendulum, giving us a surprisingly entertaining, albeit a little formulaic, tale of two women who suddenly fall into the status of impending motherhood. It won’t win an academy award for greatness, but Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean are both sweet and believable in their roles and I was very pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the endeavor.
Samantha Abbot (Cobie Smulders) is a young high school teacher who is about to have some incredibly intense changes in her life. It was just announced that the school she teaches for is going under and soon she’ll be back to hitting the streets looking for another position. To make things even MORE hectic, she also finds out that she and her longtime boyfriend are about to have a baby. A baby that was most DEFINITELY not planned. As if that wasn’t enough, Samantha finds out that one of her prize students, Jasmine (Gail Bean) is pregnant as well. To say that matters become a bit confusing and crazy for the women might be understating the situation. Samantha’s longtime boyfriend, John (Anders Holm) surprises her with a proposal and the two hunker down for the confusion and “newness” that is to come upon them.
Jasmine and Samantha happen to form a sisterly bond over their experiences, even though they come from different tracks of life. Samantha didn’t expect her baby either, but being an adult, now married and having some modicum of money in her life makes her a little more prepared than Jasmine. The high schooler is looking at college, with her whole future ahead of her, and now this little one comes into the mixture. To make matters worse, Jasmine comes from the stereotypical poor family, raised by her grandmother in place of a long gone mother. Trying to do her best as a teacher, Samantha puts all her effort and frustrations into making sure that Jasmine gets into a proper college so that she has some kind of career. Forming a sweet, and sometimes chaotic, relationship the two mismatched girls try to make some sense out of their lives.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54330[/img]I say that “Unexpected” is middle of the road for several reasons. The film has a lot of good going for it, with sweet characters, and a nice message. Samantha and Jasmine both are VERY intent on doing the very best that they can for their respective children. Samantha struggles with the desire to work vs. the desire to stay home with her child. Many times running into conflicting desires and misinterpretations of her own desires. Anders Holm plays opposite her as John, taking a much different approach to the character than his lunatic slacker role in the Comedy Central show “Workaholics”. I almost didn’t recognize him without that cheap suit and his comrades Adam Devine and Blake Anderson. Jasmine also is trying her very best to not fall back into that stereotypical low income mother, living off of someone else and bemoaning her lot in life. Driven, strong and full of love for her unborn child, she learns that she is a lot stronger than she thinks she is, and no matter the struggle she CAN prevail.
The other side to that coin comes in the form of clichés. The film itself isn’t exactly inventive, as we’ve seen the same tropes over and over again. Mother gets pregnant, has to find a medium between work and love of child, and then they live happily ever after. I LIKE a happy ending, and have no problem with that particular outcome, but as I said, it’s been done so many times before that you see it coming from a mile away. This is not really a complaint or a praise, but I’ve seen some comments that it was too stereotypical with the underprivileged black student and the fairly well off white girl. As much as it MAY be a stereotype, that situation happens every day of the week. Motherhood can happen to any woman, and there are a million different permutations to their situation and their personalities, the fact remains that this particular combination show on screen happens every day.
Rated R for language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54338[/img]“Unexpected” is a low budget film, and as such, it doesn’t look AS sparkling clean as the newest blockbuster. The Blu-ray looks a tad soft, with moderate to very good facial detail, and the overall clarity is more than pleasing. Colors are a bit warm and show a yellowish push, but contrast levels are excellent, with wonderful skin tones. Long shots have some mild softness to them, but close up facial shots look much more precise, with great detail in them. Black levels stay quite nice, with a little bit of washing out here and there, but manages to maintain a very consistent and solid looking picture. I noticed some very mild banding and a little bit of blocking in the image. However I didn’t notice any major artifacting for the rest of the film.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54346[/img]Alchemy always provide impressive Dolby TrueHD tracks and this 5.1 TrueHD one is just one would expect from the genre. Naturally front heavy due to 95% of the track being very dialog heavy, the film allows a nice natural layer of ambiance to see in between said dialog. The vocals are crisp and clear, with no audible distortions or issues of any kind, and the balance between the limited score and vocals blends seamlessly. There’s a few moments of LFE, but most of it is a very thin layering under the rest of the track to add some mild weight to the experience. Surrounds are used a decent amount, but it’s mostly relegated to backup noises, like the slamming of a car door, or the sound of the high school students chattering in the back of the room.
“Unexpected” is what I would consider a solid rental. The film doesn’t break any new ground with the message or the concept, but it is impressively entertaining considering the budget. Cobie Smulders has been making a lot of headway in her career ever since “How I Met Your Mother”, and even in these indie films, you can see why. I enjoyed the hour and a half spent watching it, and certainly don’t see why it can’t fit into the rental queue. Video and audio and well done, even though the extras are barely nonexistent. Solid B rating from myself.
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean
Directed by: Kris Swanberg
Written by: Megan Mercier, Kris Swanberg
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 86 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 29th 2015
Buy Unexpected On Blu-ray at Amazon
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