The Back-up Plan

2010-05-12 13:30
 
The Back-Up Plan

What it's about:

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is a perpetually single pet store owner who yearns for one thing: to have a baby of her own. She decides to go it alone and is artificially inseminated. On her way from the fertility clinic, she meets the gorgeous Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) who could just be Mr Right. But with a baby on the way, will they work together?

What we thought:

Jennifer Lopez makes her comeback to ubiquity (there's a new album and fragrance due later this year too) with a movie role not unlike what we've seen her do before. You know the kind: ridiculously gorgeous, successful, yet unattached young woman who just can't find the right man despite looking like, well, Jennifer Lopez. In other words, The Back-Up Plan, like much of Lopez's output, is a vehicle speedily transporting Brand Lopez to the multiplexes, department stores and iPods of the world in a fog of glam and gloss. Hey, it's a free world after all.

Though it must be said that The Back-Plan is yet another romantic comedy that sets itself up as fantasy marked as cutesy reality. With a thoroughly modern premise in which our heroine decides to forgo the traditional route to her dream family, the writers nonetheless tip-toe around the issue of artificial insemination like it’s a minefield. It soon becomes painfully clear that Zoe's pregnancy is just an obstacle in her relationship. She joins a single mothers' support group to vent her issues, though they're all about how her new man Stan fits into the picture since the baby she's expecting isn't his. The support group promptly disapproves of the fact that she's even in a relationship. Did Zoe make the right decision to go it alone? It's a dilemma this movie has no time for, what with the plot recycling itself every half hour.

Zoe and Stan (a ridiculously toned O'Loughlin) have a storybook romance where one look is all it takes for them to fall hopelessly for one another. He's a goat cheese farmer who sells his wares at Zoe's local farmers' market, and the best thing about him, besides those perfect abs and knee-buckling smile, is that he's completely supportive of Zoe's pregnancy. He even finds his own Yoda through the scary world of first-time parenting in the shape of a playground father-of-three (played by Anthony Anderson) who sagely extols the pleasures of the job thus: "It's awful, awful, awful. Then a small moment happens, that's so magical. That makes it all worthwhile. And then it’s awful, awful, awful." Quite.

The biggest problem with this movie is that once the major plots points have been established early on, nothing of much consequence happens for a long time. It's a sitcom-sized situation that you could imagine Seinfeld or Frasier get tangled in during one 25-minute episode. Only this one goes on for nearly two hours. There's a mildly funny home birth scene that will probably sell the movie to those who haven’t been hypnotized by the striking lead stars. Although the real star of the show is Zoe's petite pooch Nuts, who's paralysed from the waist down and wheels himself around in a nifty little device.

The Back-Up Plan might have Six Feet Under producer-director Alan Poul at its helm, but this is a plan with no GPS-coordinates. It mistakes exaggerated performances for physical comedy and lets the camera languish on its beautiful cast for another five minutes to pass the time. That’s not storytelling, that’s stealing R40 from the audience's wallets.


There's an insightful movie about single motherhood just dying to be made. This is not that movie.

ivy 2010/05/06 7:48 AM
awww, cmon. does everything have be to be reality based?! we live in reality and sometimes it isn't all that pretty. when you go and watch a romcom you just want to escape and i had a look at the trailer. it looks funny. i think we should just let go and laugh a little, even at the schmaltzy stuff.
taurus 2010/05/07 9:02 AM
Anything after New Moon is high class cinematic culture.
actionfan 2010/05/07 3:58 PM
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This review is nonsense. It is a romantic COMEDY, not a drama. The movie is funny and entertaining, if you watch it as a COMEDY, not an insight into the pitfalls of AI or struggles of single parenthood. I laughed from beginning to end, and would recommend this movie for some easy cheasy entertainment.
Preshen govender 2010/05/11 8:26 AM
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what was J.Lo name before she became famous ? Hey Ho.
Googlethu 2010/05/11 11:00 AM
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Lets face it, the oly reason J.lo is making movies now and will be for atleast another 5-7years is because she is gorgeous and the only high profile Latina hoolywood can find who will play such roles(I dont see Salma Hayek ever taking up a role like this)
liz 2010/05/11 5:15 PM
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I thought the movie was quite funny. As everybody else stated, its not a drama, but supposed to be a romantic comedy. So you expect to laugh and you expect the romance. And you get both. I really enjoyed it and think its good clean entertainment for every lady out there.
sherry 2010/05/18 8:39 AM
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I enjoyed the movie. the review is quite harsh and Im wondering whether the reviewer took her sense of humour with her when she went and watched it. ok, its ditzy and its unrealistic but what happened to just sitting and seeing a movie for what it is and enjoying it. it wasnt meant to really delve into the "dilemma"of her insemination.. its a comedy!
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