By Lauren McCutcheon Philadelphia Daily News –Daily News Staff Writer
WENDI McLendon-Covey has a pretty face. But it’s a pretty face you most likely can’t quite place. Having made her start in improv with L.A.’s The Groundlings, she spent a few years as hottie hardass Deputy Clementine on “Reno 911!” played David Spade’s nightmarish spouse on “Rules of Engagement,” and acted the part of fed-up mommy Rita in “Bridesmaids.” In between, she’s shown up on “The Office,” “Hot in Cleveland,” ABC Family’s “Ten Things I Hate About You,” and has recently played John Leguizamo’s ex-wife in an Americanized pilot of the Brit hit “Only Fools and Horses.”
This weekend, you’ll have the chance to sorta recognize her again in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” As the baby-obsessed boss of Jennifer Lopez’s baby-expecting character, McLendon-Covey shines as a working mom of a new sort, the kind that insists on pronouncing her son’s name in French, and has to give J-Lo some very bad news — in a hilarious way, of course.
DN: So, tell us about “Kara,” your character in “What to Expect…”?
WMC: I play [Lopez’s] boss and friend. I’m the friend that wants to tell her about everything about having a baby. I’m very pretentious. Also, my husband and I are not in the honeymoon phase of our marriage at all. For us, it’s all about the baby. The whole story line is going to bring tears to your eyes.
DN: Tears of joy? Pain? What can we expect to feel with “What to Expect”?
WMC: It’s funny. It’s sweet, it’s endearing. It’s not overly sentimental. It hits all the right notes. For example, there’s a “dudes group” of guys that want to feel like they’re still cool, that they still have swagger. They get together with their babies in the park on Saturdays to talk about manly things, like, “Look, I got to stay out until 8 o’clock last night.”
DN: The book is a how-to. The movie doesn’t sounds very instructional.
WMC: It shows you all the different ways babies show up. Sometimes they’re planned. Sometimes they’re big surprises. Sometimes you have to go to an adoption agency. The great thing is, you hold hands through the whole thing and get on that ride. No matter how unprepared you are, you start doing it. The truth is always funny.
DN: But is it just for, you know, parents?
WMC: No. If you’ve ever used the word “baby” in a sentence, you will like this movie. It’s so relatable.
DN: So, I hate to ask this, but do you have kids yourself?
WMC: The only one out of my group of friends that has no kids. But I’m a fun aunt.
DN: But you so often portray a kooky mom — Rita from “Bridesmaids,” for example. Where do you find your inspiration?
WMC: I had such a good example growing up. My mother was so harried, she always fretted over us. I was the firstborn, the experiment. If I sneezed in the middle of the night, my mom was like, “You’re staying home today.” Or, “No, you’re not going to a concert because you’re going to come back hooked on drugs.” Now, I love playing moms who can’t hide their paranoia.
DN: Lightning-round time, to test your mommy knowledge. Beyoncé versus Mariah?
DN: Doula vs. midwife?
WMC: Midwife, because doula just seems like it’s s not a profession. [A doula] is a hippie that wants to put you in a swimming pool and touch you inappropriately. You ask a doula, “How are you trained?” And a doula is like, “Oh, that wasn’t necessary.”
DN: Diapers: disposable or cloth?
DN: Breast milk or formula?
WMC: Depends on the baby and what will be easiest for the mom.
DN: Octomom vs. Michelle Duggar versus Kate Gosselin?
WMC: Kate Gosselin seems the most sane. Michelle Duggar homeschools all her little weirdos, and they all dress alike, so that’s cause for suspicion. And Octomom — I don’t think I need to say thing except, “Octomom.”
DN: “America’s Supernanny” or British “Supernanny”?
DN: “Reno 911!” or “Nanny 911?”
WMC: There are probably bigger crimes on Nanny 911