“The Back-Up Plan” Movie Review (2010)

5/03/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

“The Back-Up Plan”

Directed by Alan Poul, written by Kate Angelo, 98 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

There are a few things you should expect a slight romantic comedy to deliver, and “The Back-Up Plan” delivers every one of them.

You should expect chemistry between good-looking, charismatic leads; solid, witty writing that works hard to earn its laughs; a few moments of hot sex; some manufactured moments of conflict and tension; and a cast of supporting characters who are allowed their moments to shine and deliver their share of laughs.

Looking for something fresh or new in this genre isn’t necessarily what its core audience is seeking. Nobody is looking for “The Pianist” here. Likewise, nobody is coming to this particular movie to see a derivative of “There’s Something About Mary” and the messy trend that film started.

Instead, what they want is a reasonably sexy, enjoyable escape that adheres to a well-worn genre. If the movie is elevated beyond those expectations, great. But a fine time at the movies always will do, and that’s where “The Back-Up Plan” comes through. This isn’t a remarkable movie in anyway, but it breezed by nicely enough before giving itself over to obscurity. And with a smile, no less.

From Kate Angelo’s script, the film features the cinematic return of Jennifer Lopez, who once owned a major slice of pop culture, saturated it because she couldn’t get enough of it, and lost it when the world got sick of her. Now, she’s working her way back, and it has to be said that here, she’s more likable than she’s ever been even though movies such as “Out of Sight” prove she’s capable of delivering much more.

But so be it. Here, she’s Zoe, a single woman who lives in New York City, owns a pet shop, and who has yet to find the right guy. With her biological clock ticking, she decides it’s time to use her back-up plan and have the family she herself never had.

As the movie starts, the decision is made, she’s artificially inseminated by a quirky fertility doctor (Robert Klein), and then--naturally--she meets the smoking hotness that is Stan (Alex O’Loughlin). Sparks fly. Eyes glaze over. Zoe learns that Stan, who makes his living selling goat cheese in the city from his own farm in the country, has aspirations that go beyond maintaining his flawless physic. He actually wants to improve the world by getting behind the whole foods movement, and he’s happy to do it with his shirt off.

So, yes, Zoe obviously would be a fool not to go for him, and even though she knows she shouldn’t, she and Stan soon become an item just as she learns that she’s pregnant. With twins. Cue the aforementioned complications, most of which come down to Zoe’s fear of abandonment and Stan’s fear of having to support a family.

What’s critical to this movie’s success is its supporting cast, who are handed the film’s best lines, and who deliver them with such unbridled wackiness, the laughs come more frequently than not. As Zoe’s friend Mona, Michaela Watkins is a groundswell of cynisism, which counters moments that could have become cheesy (sorry) without her there to balance them out. Linda Lavin co-stars as Zoe’s grandmother, and she brings a kind of grace to the growing bombast, which reaches to the heavens as Zoe’s hormones take center stage.

And as for Lopez and O’Loughlin, there’s no denying what they bring to the screen--their looks, their comedic timing, and their willingness to grin and bear it through the movie’s more cliched scenes. They get the job done, they do it well, and Lopez sets herself up for what she really wants--a second chance with the public. She deserves one.

Grade: B

View the trailer for "The Back-Up Plan" below. What did you think of the movie?

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