Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Back-up Plan DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Features J-Lo as Ingenue in Formulaic Sitcom

At 40, Jennifer Lopez frankly looks a little long in the tooth to be playing that coy, coquettish ingenue she perfected back in the day in such movies as Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law and The Wedding Planner. Nonetheless, she throws herself into The Back-up Plan with an admirable gusto, even if she’s ultimately betrayed by the bad script.
The production is laced with too many expletives and too much slapstick, especially groan-inducing, bodily function humor. And the worse culprit in this regard is annoying SNL alum Michaela Watkins who ruins every scene in which she appears as J-Lo’s terminally-crude best friend.
The story unfolds in New York City on the very day that Zoe (Lopez) has given up on ever getting married and having a baby. She’s decided to implement her “Back-up Plan” which involves being artificially inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor with the help of Dr. Harris’ (Robert Klein).
Then, on her way home from the infertility clinic, she serendipitously locks eyes across an empty taxi with the man she’s always been waiting. Despite the fact that she immediately locks horns with Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) in a fight over a cab, it is painfully obvious, at least to the viewer, that it’s only a matter of time before the two will fall madly in love with each other.
The film follows the tired sitcom “one big secret” formula from this point forward, you know, the one whereby the protagonist tries to hide a simple secret which, if owned up to, would instantly clarify matters. But heaven forbid should she try honesty. Instead they start dating, and Zoe doesn’t let on that she’s expecting, even though her gradually expanding waistline will soon prove impossible to explain.
Stan, a down-to-earth goat farmer from upstate, is the doting, sensitive sort which makes Zoe’s furtive, Three’s Company-style hijinks seem all the more silly. Consequently, it’s a little anticlimactic when the moment of truth arrives after the cat comes out of the bag (or should I say after the twins come out of the womb). Too bad there was never a doubt from the day these lovebirds met that Stan would eventually get down on one knee to propose.
J-Lo’s worst outing since Gigli.

Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, crude humor and sexual references.
Running time: 106 Minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes and “Belly Laughs: Making The Back-Up Plan.”

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