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The Back-up Plan (2010)

Starring:

Alex O'Loughlin

Anthony Anderson

Eric Christian Olsen

Jennifer Elise Cox

Jennifer LopezJennifer Lopez

Linda Lavin

Maribeth Monroe

Melissa McCarthy

Michaela Watkins

Noureen DeWulf

Robert Klein

Tom Bosley

Directed by:

Alan Poul

Rating: 4/10

OK, so I admit, I kind of like Jennifer Lopez. Not the whole “J. Lo” side of her, but I think she’s always been better in movies than in the music world, and I thought that The Back-up Plan had potential to be, if not comedy of the year, at least a decent rom-com that was a fun way to pass an hour-forty or so. Well, not quite—it’s not as bad as some and it does have a few moments, but really, it’s a waste of time.

If you hadn’t gotten the whole idea from the glut of commercials and previews by now, Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is a single woman who’s never met Mr. Right—or even Mr. Decent—and, with her bio clock chiming away, has decided she wants a baby, even if she has to do it herself. Well, as always happens when one gets oneself artificially inseminated, Zoe walks out of the doctor’s office and into a romance with a cheese selling goat farmer named Stan (Alex O’Loughlin). Predictable conflicts and resolutions follow.

Most mainstream romantic comedies have a certain rhythm, a certain set of rules they need to follow. People meet, either hate each other or instantly love each other, there are a few montages and/or musical interludes, there’s a fight or something, then it’s all good. We know the score, and it’s not a bad thing, because sometimes, even a tired formula has a twist on premise, or it’s really funny, or its stars are so darn good a mediocre film is made better by their presence (for example, Date Night). None of these are true here. When you start off a film with a voiceover explanation that sums up the main character’s entire life until now, you know it’s all downhill—but there’s still hope, right? And it’s not that there’s anything offensively BAD going on, more like just boring. Again, Lopez is just fine, but O’Loughlin is bland (maybe they wanted to cast someone who would in no way eclipse her screen time or presence?), not to mention unbelievably accepting of first the baby revelation(s), THEN of Zoe’s unrelenting paranoia. It’s hard to believe they fell that quickly, no matter how much of a romantic you are, perhaps because everything is touched on so superficially and then added to the backstory. Maybe I’m biased, having just seen the sublimely wonderful Away We Go, a pregnant couple film in a whole different league, but really, while fluff movies like The Back-Up Plan can sometimes also be good movies, when they’re just nothing special, like this one, shouldn’t we hope for more?

It's Got: OK J. Lo, a fun bit part role from Jan Brady (the movie version), a few laughs

It Needs: More personality, a better main man, a little more depth

Alternatives:

The Wedding Planner, The Proposal, Away We Go

Summary

Jennifer Lopez is acceptable, and there are a few good laughs, but overall a bland and forgettable romantic comedy.

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