The Back-Up Plan

The Back-Up Plan

DIR: Alan Poul • WRI: Kate Angelo • PRO: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch • DOP:  Xavier Pérez Grobet • ED: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly •  DES: Alec Hammond • CAST: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Eric Christien Olsen, Michaela Watkins

This latest in a rash of sub-par Hollywood rom-coms stars Jennifer Lopez as a woman whose biological clock is ticking so she decides to get pregnant by means of artificial insemination. However, the plot thickens as she meets a man who may be ‘the one’. However, he may not be ready for parenthood quite yet.

That’s about as much of the plot as is necessary to disclose. What follows is two people running around in circles and dragging out what is about fifteen minutes’ worth of story. Some comedy ensues, mostly comprised of a single women’s group and some very poor bodily function jokes. One of the main problems with this film is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It asks a lot of the big questions about motherhood and the increasing tendency for women to find an alternate to a husband in order to become a mother. Some of the questions posed were engaging and in better hands this could have been an interesting social comment on the changing role of men and women in this modern age. However, it opted instead for some rather silly jokes about the effect of pregnancy on a woman, emotionally and physically. The film dips into some major 14-year-old territory on a comedy level. It’s hardly surprising that the film was written by a regular writer on Will & Grace which was another example of writing that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be smart or really, really stupid.

There are some vaguely funny moments but these are few and far between. J.Lo doesn’t really impress in this her ‘comeback’ movie. She has proven in the past that she has the chops for acting but I can’t help but feel that the rom-com genre doesn’t do her talent any justice. She smiles and looks pretty and does the ‘strong woman’ thing, but never rises to anything resembling a character and doesn’t bring anything of herself to the film. The male lead Alex O’Loughlin is also frustratingly dull. It isn’t that he is a bad actor by any means it is just that he doesn’t seem quite at home with the material.

As the film progresses it becomes more and more clear that it has descended into nothingness. Any interesting aspects have been usurped by blandness and it is difficult to invest in any of the characters by the end. Perhaps if rom-coms are your thing you might find some entertainment but this won’t be crossing into the kind of widespread audience connection that something like Knocked Up achieved.

Charlene Lydon
(See biog here)

Rated 15A (See IFCO website for details)
The Back-Up Plan is released on 7th May 2010
The Back-Up Plan – Official Website

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