Monday, April 26, 2010

The Back-up Plan - Movie Review

The Back-up Plan (PG-13) 106 minutes D
J-Lo needs to lay low

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Eric Christian Olsen, Michaela Watkins, Noureen DeWulf, Melissa McCarthy, and Danneel Harris

When I saw the trailer for The Back-up Plan I thought it looked reasonably OK even though the odds were against it. After all, Jenny from the block has made credible showings in films like Out of Sight and Selena while serving as unadulterated eye candy in Oliver Stone's 1997 film, U-turn.

But I should’ve known I was trouble when I walked into the theatre five minutes before showtime and only one other person was in attendance. Occasionally this happens if I’m seeing a little known indie film starring no one you’ve ever heard of but rarely does it happen when seeing something mainstream... unless it’s really bad.

In this film J-Lo continues the trend of crappy rom-coms starring overly glossed, beautiful leading ladies (i.e. Jennifer Anniston, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl) who continue to disappoint us with bad roles and underwhelm us with poor acting.

Lopez is not the least bit convincing as Zoe, a lonely New Yorker who is so unlucky in love she decides to go it alone and get artificially inseminated. Whereas her hunk of burning love, Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), is as contrived as a toy from a box of Cracker Jacks.

Thing is, I initially liked the premise of Zoe finding love after she closed herself off to the possibility because that’s just how life works. I also wanted to like Stan because I knew he would accept Zoe despite the instant family. But what ensues is stupid, corny and not well executed; the acting seemed terribly off key and the characters were fresh out of a bad sitcom.

Perhaps Lopez needs to take it down a notch, do some smaller films and/or smaller (more meaningful) roles to get her groove back. This could've been better and a lot less campy had they left out the cheap laughs and idiotic characters (i.e. Zoe's friends/employees at the pet store).

Not the worst film I've seen but very disappointing.
Bonus DVD Review
Ira & Abby (R) 101 minutes C-
Love not marriage

DVD Release Date: September 14, 2007
Starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Chris Messina, Jason Alexander, Frances Conroy, Fred Willard, Judith Light, Robert Klein, and Maddie Corman

I wanted to see Ira & Abby back in 2007 but I never got around to it. I'd read that it was a lot like a Woody Allen film and Woody fans would dig it... well, not exactly. It does bare a resemblance to a Woody Allen feature minus one key ingredient- Woody Allen!

The story follows Ira and Abby who meet at a gym and 6 hours later they decide to get married, "fifty percent of marriages end in divorce so we have as good a chance as any" Abby says convincingly to Ira.

This premise is unlikely but I liked it... I also didn't mind the film's closing salvo and grandiose proclamations about love and marriage. But what I don't buy and didn't necessarily care for was the tiresome narcissism that came off as water-down Woody Allen featuring characters (who I wanted to like) that lacked authenticity, one of the very qualities that makes a Woody Allen film so enjoyable.

Nice try, but this film bites off more than it can chew.

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