Director: Alan Poul
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Noureen
DeWulf, Melissa McCarthy, Michaela Watkins, Anthony Anderson,
Eric Christian Olsen
RunTime: 1 hr 44 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Some Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.theback-upplan.com/
Opening Day: 6 May 2010
"The Back-up Plan" is a comedy that explores courtship,
love, marriage and family "in reverse." After years
of dating, Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) has decided waiting for the
right one is taking too long. Determined to become a mother,
she commits to a plan, makes an appointment and decides to
go it alone. On the day of her artificial insemination, Zoe
meets Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) - a man with real possibilities.
to nurture a budding relationship and hide the early signs
of pregnancy becomes a comedy of errors for Zoe and creates
confusing signals for Stan. When Zoe nervously reveals the
reason for her unpredictable behavior, Stan commits fully
and says he's in.
before has love seen a courtship where a wild night of sex
involves three in a bed - Stan, Zoe and the ever-present massive
pregnancy pillow. Or, where "date night" consists
of being the "focal point" at a near-stranger's
water birth which does for kiddie pools what "Jaws"
did for swimming in the ocean.
real pregnancy test comes when both of them realize they really
do not know each other outside of hormonal chaos and birth
preparations. With the nine month clock ticking, both begin
to experience cold feet. Anyone can fall in love, get married
and have a baby but doing it backwards in hyper-drive could
be proof positive that they were made for each other.
It's been some four years since Jennifer Lopez last hit the big screen in El Cantante with her husband Marc Antony, and five years actually since her last film An Unfinished Life got screened at the theatres here. Some things though never change, and still J Lo remains on the receiving end of butt jokes, which I felt she
probably went head long with in self-deprecating mode, since after all, pregnancy does make the body go physically bloated, with fat deposits sometimes going where you don't want to.
As the story goes, Jennifer Lopez plays Zoe, a once Internet corporate executive turned pet store owner who made the calculated decision that after fulfilling her career and economic needs, has to satisfy her other Maslow desires by having children before it's biologically too late. Not having a boyfriend/husband won't be a problem since modern science allows for artificial insemination through donor sperm. So with a ready solution, what's there to stop the single woman from getting what she wants in life?
Until of course the One True Love of cinema comes knocking on the door at the wrong momennt, and throws her plan haywire because Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) is someone whom she falls head over heels with thanks to his charming persistence, and someone with whom she sees herself making babies with, but not anymore since the pregnancy kit confirms her worst fear. But this is not that film which dives into such a dysfunctional dilemma, but in some ways, turns out to be quite the anti-baby, non pro-family film.
Imagine all the worst fears possible about having kids all rolled into a single film. It's almost encyclopedic in documenting all the pregnancy signs and symptoms, from hot flushes to morning sickness, and all the anxieties that come along with the topsy-turvy hormonal changes. You're taken down the whole nine yards on what to expect especially from the female perspective, with food cravings, mood swings, horniness and ultra sensitivity for instance, and from the perspective of the guy, whether to put up with all these is worth it or not. And not to forget, the harsh realities of life that babies can be expensive, really expensive with the daily consumable eating into savings, and the cost of a decent college education looming over the horizon.
So reality check, people. The film sugar coats all the challenges with comedy that
fell really flat mostly, save for some sporadic moments involving Zoe's friends from the self-help Single Mothers and Proud group undergoing a water delivery, and the one liners and spot on comic timing of Zoe's gynecologist Dr Scott Harris (Robert Klein). Otherwise the romance in the film plods really long, almost as painfully slow as the nine month wait for delivery, and frankly I just cannot fathom how Zoe and Stan can make a believable couple as they whine a lot, and kiss and make up too fast too soon each time they go through a argue-make-up cycle. It's almost like a film with two main tales split down the middle, beginning with Boy falling for Girl, followed by Boy tolerating Girl. Nothing really romantic there.
So perhaps I may not belong to the right demographics this film is targeting, since
the obviously loud guffaws came from its intended audience, but I'll stick to my rating for the film as follows:
(Celebrate Motherhood with J Lo, only if you're up for it)
Review by Stefan Shih