Monday, 17 May 2010
FILM REVIEW: THE BACK-UP PLAN
The Back-Up Plan opens with Jennifer Lopez in stirrups being artificially inseminated. One could say it is an omen for the audience – you’re about to be screwed without any of the fun! – but that’s not entirely true. For as laboured (pun intended) as most of the comedy is, you can’t help but give a smile.
Granted, those smiles will probably be more for the crippled pooch (belonging to J-Lo’s pet store-owning character), or for every time leading man, Alex O’Loughlin, takes his shirt off (hello, ladies), than for the actual amount of genuine laughs in the screenplay, which is more TV sit-com than big screen rom-com.
J-Lo is Zoe, a post-30 single woman (eek!) in New York who has yet to find Mr. Right (eek!). Taking matters into her own (or rather her obstetrician’s) hands, she opts to get pregnant by anonymous sperm donor rather than have her biological clock’s batteries run dead. Immediately after the procedure, she hops in a cab which Stan (O’Loughlin) also boards. It’s a typical NY meet-cute and while they go their separate ways, fate (and by the numbers screenwriting) will bring them back together.
Zoe and Stan begin dating, neither knowing that she is actually pregnant. But it soon becomes apparent and after the initial shock, Stan decides he likes Zoe enough to stick by her, although every new development in their relationship has him regularly checking for the exit signs (like most men who will be dragged along to see the film).
There’s a lot of jokes in The Back-Up Plan at the expense of single mothers’ groups, how awful kids can be, how unrewarding parenting can be, and men’s discomfit with secret women’s business (“Vagina, vagina, vagina!” the obstetrician barks at Stan at the first ultrasound he attends). But Lopez, making her big screen return following her own pregnancy time-out, and O’Loughlin make for a very photogenic and likeable couple.
Pretty, likeable and warm smile-inducing admittedly don’t sound like ringing endorsements, so no , I don’t recommend you rush out to see The Back-Up Plan. And if you do, don’t blame me if you feel you’re the one in the (metaphorical) stirrups.