Friday, May 14, 2010

Review - The Back-up Plan

Zoe has been dating for years and is yet to find the right man. The 30-something is furthermore desperate to become a mother. Refusing to wait any longer for the right man, she commits to having artificial insemination done. The very same day as her appointment, Zoe meets a guy who has all the potential to be the one. With only 9 months till delivery, Zoe and Stan begin a relationship that sees all of the traditional romantic steps moving in a very peculiar order.

Probably my least favorite genre of film is romantic comedies. They are almost always entirely predictable, never seem to have any original thought and continually seem to disappoint. "The Back-up Plan" is no different. Outside of the endlessly adorable Jennifer Lopez, the rom-com feels just like another she's having a baby story.

Writer Kate Angelo and director Alan Poul would have you believe that "The Back-up Plan" is an entirely unique spin on the maternal clock. They try to create funny situations that are tied into all of the hormonal changes Zoe is going through, unfortunately most of these jokes fall flat. A perfect example of this would be all the toilet humor throughout the film. As a parent, I know accidents are something parents deal with on a regular basis and these accidents can often be very funny, but here they just come across as forced. Ultimately, the romantic comedy conjures up very few laughs in its 106 minute running time leaving way too much time to pick away at the predictable script.

In its simplest form, "The Back-up Plan" banks on whether you are a fan of Jennifer Lopez or not. The film is essentially her show. There is no amazing performances hidden within the overtly predictable script. You know where the story is going within the first 15 minutes of the movie and are stuck watching as it plays out. If you're a fan of JLo, most likely you'll find at least a small amount of pleasure from watching. If you are not a fan, I would recommend staying as far away from the rom-com as possible.

As for the rest of the cast, Anthony Anderson goes misused as a playground parent who gives Stan advice. Stan played by Alex O'Loughlin is a real disappointment. His character is meant to drip of charm, however I found his performance and persona to be a real nuisance. Overall his character just goes through the motions as Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) bumbles about. On a positive note, I will say that Zoe's support group did deliver a few laughs, but their performances are extremely minor. Zoe's best friend Mona played by Michaela Watkins has some of the best dialogue in "The Back-up Plan" as the extremely cranky mother, but much like the rest of the script, is never utilized to her full potential.

In the end, "The Back-up Plan" is a so-so romantic comedy that has very few laughs and a whole lot of missed potential. Jennifer Lopez is charming as always, but her on screen chemistry with Alex O'Loughlin is minimal and never seems to come to fruition. Its always hard to speak highly of a romantic comedy when you never quite believe the two onscreen could be as in love as were told they are. At the very least, "The Back-up Plan" is worth a look when it hits DVD.