Chick flicks can all seem to blend together at times.
Lead female character a workaholic New Yorker? Yep. Lead male a good looking type with a tendancy to run off and then change his mind? Yep. An oversexed/potty mouthed best friend? Yep.
The Back-Up Plan ticks all of these boxes but explores a slightly more modern idea of romance – women who conciously choose to be single mums, putting the hunt for a man second.
In her first outing since giving birth to twins, Jennifer Lopez enthusiastically plays Zoe, a careerwoman desperate to have a baby. Accepting that she might never meet “the elusive one”, she embarks on artificial insemination only to meet a man with true prospects minutes after her baby-making procedure.
Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin plays Stan, the man with prospects. It is his first major lead role and unfortunately he barely manages to hang on as J-Lo steals the show with a relaxed and confident performance. The pair have little chemistry on screen, but still manage to work together to create some laughs.
J-Lo throws herself into the slapstick physical comedy that gives the movie a few laugh-out-loud moments. It is bliss watching her shamelessly eat her way around New York, try and seduce her boyfriend with a chicken nugget stuck in her hair and check out her big pregnancy butt.
Zoe’s disabled dog Nutsy is also appealing at least for the cute factor of watching a dog with wheels. And her best friend and rellies, including grandfather-to-be Tom Bosley get points for their sassy contributions.
But while pregnancy has provided some great fodder for flicks such as Knocked Up and Baby Mama, The Back-Up Plan just doesn’t quite enter this realm. The fact that it is J-Lo’s first film outing since having her own babies, adds a lot to the ‘is art imitating life’ appeal of it. But the story tries too desperately in parts to be funny and Alex O’Loughlin seems too fake and practised to enjoy.
If it wasn’t for J-Lo stealing the show and being absolutely at home in this role – one of her best performances yet – this flick would be straight to video. But generally it is a pleasant, friendly and likeable chick flick perfect for J-Lo lovers and mums. Guys will get nothing out of it, so spare them the pain of having to watch a lesbian give birth (yes, really) and leave them at home.
The Back-Up Plan opens in Australian cinemas tomorrow, May 20.