Jen's Rating:


Plan C: Watch something else.

Who's In It: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Laughlin, Eric Christian Olsen, Linda Lavin, Melissa McCarthy, Michaela Watkins

The Basics: New York single gal Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is the type of independent woman Destiny's Child sings about. She's got everything -- success, good hair, one of those insufferably adorable lap dogs -- but what she REALLY wants is a baby. Unfortunately, on the exact day that she gets herself artificially inseminated (okay, more like 5 minutes after) Zoe meets Stan (Alex O'Laughlin), a cute fellow Manhattan yuppie. How yuppie is he? He's a cheese farmer who dreams of opening a boutique selling sustainable local foodstuffs. Naturally, Zoe's smitten, but her pregnancy throws her burgeoning relationship for a few loops and she and Stan must overcome a multitude of obstacles on the bumpy road to love and parenthood.

What's The Deal: TV veteran Alan Poul ("Six Feet Under") makes his feature directing debut with this unconventional-yet-all-too-conventional romantic comedy that everyone hopes will bring J. Lo back into the A-list limelight. For her part, Lopez puts her all into carrying the maternity jokes beyond their limits in a performance that brings to mind mid-century screwball heroines like Doris Day and Lucille Ball, two comic performers who could have pulled off this kind of shtick in their sleep. However, even Lopez's earnest efforts and jokes about her famous fanny can't save this trying comedy from annoying at a near-hysterical pitch once Zoe goes from strong, sassy single gal to whiny, needy mother-to-be. Women who've gone through childbirth may find Zoe's nine months of hell hilariously familiar, but the rest of us just wonder if we have to commit to sticking it out to the end like poor Stan does.

Points For Real Talk: Kudos to writer Kate Angelo for making Zoe a complicated character with issues, and for injecting the script with some surprisingly candid real talk about how crazy women really are in relationships (the whole "he says it, so he thinks it, so he feels it" line of logic). If only the film explored more of these real-life observations instead of rom-com clichés and "the dog eats the pregnancy pee-stick" gags, The Back-Up Plan might have felt more like a movie of substance than a disappointingly tedious pregnancy rom-com.

Chemistry -- Who Needs It? Most romantic comedies these days don't bother with developing character, since they can throw a guy and a girl together in a strange situation and bam! They're in love. The Back-Up Plan is no exception. There's more chemistry between the pregnant, hungry J. Lo and the pot of stew she devours in messy fashion than between her and Alex O'Loughlin, whose character is thinly drawn. Every time he's kind of a jerk, she just falls more in love with him as if forced to by some unseen orchestrator (or screenwriter).

Pregnancy Jokes To Look Forward To: Jokes about vaginas. Abandonment. Pregnancy tests (see above). Poop. Hormones. Eating. Getting fat. Crying after sex. Weirdo single mothers. Natural water births. More poop. More hormones. More eating. More getting fat. More crying. Sound fun yet?

The Thing J. Lo Wants You To Remember: She still looks good. Lopez shot The Back-Up Plan after giving birth to twins herself, so there's no shortage of shots of her admiring her own washboard abs in the mirror. Or working out in a sports bra. Or peering at her own butt in a thong while wearing a gloriously pregnant prosthetic belly.


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