Jennifer Lopez in The Back-up Plan (2010)

Back-up and Away Now

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) has had enough of meeting Mr. Not-Quite-Right and decides as a single New Yorker she should take matters in to her own hands and go for motherhood on her own. And so after having the artificial insemination procedure she is over the moon, almost skipping down the street in the rain which is when she meets Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) as she dives in to the taxi he is in. One meet cute leads to another and before long they are dating except there is the small issue of Zoe's impending motherhood to deal with and whether or not she should tell him.

Within a minute of "The Back-Up Plan" starting I knew that I wouldn't enjoy this movie despite having a general fondness for romantic comedies. And the reason I knew is that watching Jennifer Lopez do ditzy is excruciating, from worrying about her chipped polish on her toe nails during the artificial insemination procedure to leaving the office with her legs together it is simply aggravating. Now in fairness after a while the ditsy, supposedly cutesy stuff is toned down and becomes more sporadic but when ever they deliver some it is cheesy.

Alex O'Loughlin in The Back-up Plan (2010)

Of course we are talking romantic comedy here so to accuse "The Back-Up Plan" of being cheesy seems a waste of words but it is one which more often than not fails when it comes to the laughs and is cheesy when it comes to the romance. Watching Stan set up this ultra romantic meal in a garden for a first date is so OTT that it is hard to watch. It is the same with a scene where Zoe goes to a single mum's support group and there is a mum breastfeeding her daughter who must have been at least 6. The jokes just don't work and it becomes a movie which is a battle of wills to stay watching.

Now quite simply "The Back-up Plan" is the Jennifer Lopez show, there maybe other actors alongside her including Alex O'Loughlin but every scene is about Lopez. Now I don't mind that but what I mind if the Jennifer Lopez is cast as a woman who obviously feels time is running out for having a child which is why she goes down the artificial route. But what I don't like is that they make Zoe seem like some air headed twenty year old rather than a woman in control of her life and knowing what she wants. It is so poorly conceived that it just adds to what is wrong with the movie and makes Zoe a difficult character to warm to.

What this all boils down to is that "The Back-Up Plan" doesn't work with badly written characters, jokes which fall flat and a reliance on the looks of Jennifer Lopez to keep your attention. Maybe for a young teen market the unsubtle humour will work but for anyone else it is a struggle.