I think that by now we all know about Jennifer Lopez’s luck allergy when it comes to the films she chooses.
Many of her features are either barely passable, guilty pleasures or throat-slittingly awful and after a break from moviemaking, it looks like Jenny from the block still hasn’t learned her lesson.
The Back-Up Plan sees Lopez as Zoe, a desperate woman whose lack of a man has left her turning to artificial insemination in order to get herself a baby. But as she leaves the clinic she has a meet cute with handsome market trader Stan (Alex O’Loughlin).
As their relationship blossoms, Zoe must break the news that she’s pregnant – with twins no less – and Stan must come to terms with being a father to babies that aren’t his with a woman that he just met.
It’s clever concept is relevant to modern society but the script is missing some crucial conversations and is lacking the drama that the situation would usually have. The fact that Stan isn’t the father isn’t really brought up as a problem until the final reel and it’s just wildly improbable that this wouldn’t have posed a problem earlier in their relationship.
While it’s lacking tension and drama, I have to admit that against my better judgement, I laughed through some sections of the movie. There’s a lot of well-crafted pregnancy humour that keeps things lively but J-Lo is so miscast that all the jokes in the world can’t turn her into the romcom queen she so clearly desires to be.
Alex O’Loughlin doesn’t fare much better. Despite some chemistry with Lopez, he really doesn’t do anything more than the basics as the put-upon boyfriend Stan. His main job is to provide what I’m sure will be a predominantly female audience with some eye candy.
The films’ saving grace is the supporting cast who are a much better fit, especially with SNL alum Michaela Watkins bringing the funny as Zoe’s frazzled best friend Mona and Linda Lavin as Zoe’s commitment-phobe grandmother. Gilmore Girls’ Melissa McCarthy and Maribeth Monroe are also good sports as a lesbian couple whose home water birth is as funny as it is horrific to watch.
Unfortunately, there are more than a few moments where the plot sags and the film forgets that it has an audience to entertain, which is fine because the film will be forgotten by the audience as soon as they leave the cinema.
Better luck next time, Jen.