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The Back-up Plan: So Bad It's Good?

by admin April 23, 2010 6:00 am
The Back-up Plan: So Bad It's Good?

Jennifer Lopez's attempt to revive her career marches on with The Back-up Plan, a movie that strives to shake up the girl-meets-boy formula by having the girl opt for artificial insemination in the movie's very first scene, before embarking on her impossibly unrealistic fairy tale romance. Which is insane, but alright. I've seen and enjoyed crazier. I've seen Crank.

One good thing I can say about The Back-up Plan is that I can't really say I've ever seen a movie exactly like it before. It had the formula of a standard rom-com (they dislike each other at first; they gradually fall in love; they break up for some dumb-ass reason; they triumphantly get back together at the end) for sure, but at least the girl was pregnant first. That's not how it was in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, or The Proposal. It's almost like they were trying to be original. Not quite, but almost.

And look, I'm not new here -- I know what happens to people who say disparaging things about Alex O'Loughlin on the internet -- but it has to be said that maybe he wasn't the perfect choice to co-star in this particular film. He and J.Lo have no chemistry, and though the script didn't give him much to work with, he certainly didn't elevate the material. He was adequate, but bland and forgettable, and any actor with washboard abs could have replaced him with no detriment to the film. And if this movie were made by anyone but CBS Films, I'm sure he would have been.

Then there was the problem of the romantic element of the movie. The two lead characters are supposed to be so in love, so irrefutably perfect for each other, that you want them to not only be together, but to raise a child together as well. But, as with most of these movies, that isn't presented compellingly. I had no idea why they were in love (she doesn't even care about cheese! And he makes cheese!), and I certainly had no idea why O'Loughlin's character would want to raise a child with this woman, whom he just met. (He finds out she's pregnant on their second date, and agrees to take on that responsibility around date four, because he's a crazy man. She doesn't find anything strange about that, by the way.)

But there is some good. Michaela Watkins is the funniest thing about the movie, but Jennifer Lopez looks fantastic, and was actually kind of likable. The movie's terribly unfunny overall, but there's something infectious about J.Lo, and I have a lot of nostalgia for her, so it was nice to see her again.

The movie was also written by a woman, which is probably why Lopez's character wasn't pathetically man-crazy, and thank God for that. In the beginning of the movie she was just matter-of-fact about how she hadn't found anyone she wanted to marry, so she's just going to have a baby by herself, and she's happy to do that. Most movies would have had her desperately whining about being single, and there was none of that here. Also, there were some earthy lesbians who were not violent man-haters. You don't often see that in mainstream comedies. I appreciate the effort, Kate Angelo, screenwriter of The Back-up Plan, even if the romance in your romantic comedy made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Oh, and did I mention that J.Lo is an orphan in this movie? Where have I seen that before?

Did you see it? Did you love it? Discuss below!

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