Oh Baby, This Back-up Plan is Bad
- Friday, April 23, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: April 23, 2010
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content including references, some crude material and language)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Run Time: 106 min.
Director: Alan Poul
Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Melissa McCarthy, Michaela Watkins, Eric Christian Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Noureen DeWulf, Meribeth Monroe, Linda Lavin
When trying to reassure his lady love that he won't leave her, no matter how crazy life with twins will get, Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) lovingly tells Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) that "some things can last forever." Thankfully, Stan's earnest gesture of devotion didn't apply to the movie itself.
After all, knowing the credits would roll eventually was the only glimmer of hope I had, considering just how bad The Back-up Plan is. It's not that Jenny from the Block doesn't give everything she's got in this pregnancy comedy gone seriously wrong, it's that she didn't have the wherewithal to turn down such a lousy script (or at least pull a major diva fit and demand a significant rewrite).
Apparently, women opting for artificial insemination because they haven't found Mr. Right by the ripe old age of 30 (yeah, they're shaving 11 years off Lopez's real age) is the stuff of pure rom-com gold these days. In fact, later this year, a character played by Hollywood's favorite single lady, Jennifer Aniston, endures a similar fate in The Switch. But hey, at least Jason Bateman is also starring, so there's bound to be a few sardonically funny lines, right?
With The Back-up Plan, however, audiences aren't quite so lucky. Other than Lopez's shameless knack for physical comedy in a host of unglamorous situations (shoveling large amounts of chili in her mouth with not one—but four—pieces of rustic bread or retrieving the results of her pregnancy test from a pile of doggie vomit, for instance), there's nothing particularly inspiring or entertaining about this bland story of a successful woman who hasn't exactly been lucky in love. Even her reasons for wanting a baby so badly that she'd resort to mating in a sterile hospital room are embarrassingly clichéd and ill-conceived.
Of course, if Zoe had just waited 15 minutes, she would've met her Mr. Right and skipped that hospital visit altogether. While getting into her cab, a cute guy with equally cute rom-com flaws (an unfortunate name and a penchant for droning on and on about cheese-making in case you're curious) tries stealing her ride home because you know it's just not very New York to simply share the cab instead.
And since Zoe and Stan's requisite meet-cute, not to mention their first dates, don't happen until she's already with child, there's a flimsy framework established for a story of what happens when a couple finds out they're becoming parents before really getting to know each other—think a much tamer (but far less funny) version of Knocked Up.
Even if someone manages to suspend his/her disbelief and buys into this lamely conceived plotline, however, there's nothing about The Back-up Plan that has any resonance in the real world. Not only is the dialogue incredibly unbelievable from the get-go, but the characters are just plain kooky, whether it's Zoe who left the corporate world to run an offbeat pet shop, her non-conformist grandmother who won't marry her 93-year-old fiancé because she's scared it won't work out or the gaggle of chanting, hippie-dippy earth mothers (including one who breast-feeds her three-year-old daughter) in the support group that Zoe joins when she thinks she's doing the whole motherhood gig by herself.
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