The Back Up Plan

Posted: August 21, 2010 in MOVIE REVIEWS

by Sarah St. John

“The Back-Up Plan” (which has also been referred to as “Plan B”), starring Jennifer Lopez (“Selena,” “The Wedding Planner,” “Maid in Manhattan”) and Alex O’Loughlin (“Invisible,” “August Rush,” “White Out”), is just that: a back-up plan in the event the movie you really want to see sells out.

“The Back-Up Plan” is Jennifer Lopez’s come-back film after a four-year acting hiatus. Personally, I thought she had disappeared into thin air never to be seen again. Well, you would at least hope that after four years off, that she would have used that time to improve upon some acting skills, or be more selective in her movie roles – and preferably ones that never mention, or focus on, her rear end. Such is not the case.

Lopez plays a woman in her mid-thirties named Zoe who has never been married, nor had a family of her own. Zoe desperately wants a child, so she has given up on finding “the man of her dreams” and decides to take matters into her own hands and get artificially inseminated. This is her “back-up plan.” Ironically, the very same day she gets inseminated, she ends up meeting the man of her dreams, Stan (O’Loughlin), as they both climb into the same taxi.

The crux of the film is Zoe is trying to determine when and how to tell Stan about her pregnancy. Once she does tell him, the focus then shifts to whether or not Stan is really in it for the long haul. Zoe joins a support group which is led by Melissa McCarthey (Samantha Who, “Gilmore Girls”). Although many people may not be familiar with McCarthey, I have always enjoyed her acting style. She is naturally funny, and she has a distinct acting style that makes you wonder if she’s even acting or just being herself. As expected, I found Melissa’s character, Carol, to be the most humorous in the film, especially the scene where she is humming, chanting and banging the djembe during another woman’s home birth. (Speaking of which, if you are queasy in the slightest when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth issues, you may want to avoid this film altogether. A home birth is not pretty, and “The Back-Up Plan” plays that up to the hilt.)

On the plus side, “The Back-Up Plan” is rather humorous and had both men and women, myself included, laughing hysterically throughout the entire movie – to the point where you could not hear the actor’s lines at certain points because it was drowned out by all the laughing. It is easily the funniest film I’ve seen all year. Despite this, I still found it lacking, and I was confused by my mixed emotions for the film.

This might sit squarely on Lopez’s shoulders, as it’s almost impossible to have any sort of empathy for her character. While she has great comedic timing, she has yet to recapture the acting flair she showed in films like “In Plain Sight.”

“The Back-Up Plan” feels more like a one-night-stand than a long-term commitment. It feels like a good time while you are there, but once it is over, you are left thinking to yourself, “what just happened?”

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