Back-Up Plan, The (Review)

(4/23/10; Comedy, Romance)
Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Danneel Harris, Eric Christian Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Noureen DeWulf, Tom Bosley, Linda Lavin
SCR: Kate Angelo
DIR: Alan Poul
MPAA: PG-13 for sexual content including references, some crude material and language.
1 hour 46 mins
BOX: $33,737,302

Cliché-ridden comeback-of-sorts for Lopez is a fluffy and relatively safe vehicle about a Zoe, a woman who becomes artificially inseminated and then meets the guy of her dreams (O’Loughlin). They meet cute (in a taxicab) and eventually hook up. Sure, she’s gotta tell him, but how? How will he react?

And once he settles in for the ride, how many comedic pregnancy tropes will the movie trot out? Pretty much all of them: comedic barfing, comedic dress-ripping, comedic over-eating and, yes, the comedic lack of sex. And if those things weren’t funny on their own, we’re treated to comedic reaction shots from Zoe’s Boston Terrier.

Lopez is a genuinely charming screen presence throughout and generates some believable heat with O’Loughlin, playing The Greatest Catch of All Time (he’s a hunky single cheese farmer whose dream is to open his own grocery store with local, sustainable farm goods.)

The good news: even though the first act and much of the finale are painfully rote, the movie treats us to a few genuine chuckles and one gut-buster of a birth sequence. The hapless couple ends up at the home of a woman from Zoe’s support group as she gives birth in a wading pool. That scene is so filled with absurd wailing and precise comic timing, it made me wish the rest of the film were as funny.

Sitcom legends Lavin and Bosley play Lopez’ grandmother and beau. (CBS Films)


Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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