Jenny from the block, or J to tha L-O, has been absent from the multiplexes for half a decade. Some may say that she should have stayed “on the block” if all she has to offer is cinematic tripe like The Wedding Planner and Angel Eyes. The more forgiving of us might think back to the sultry brilliance of Out of Sight and her debut turn in Oliver Stone’s U-Turn. So there is a modicum of excitement in seeing which Lopez has decided to show up, that is unless you’ve seen the hideous poster that lets you know we’re in for another formulaic J-Lo rom-com.
Zoe (Lopez) has never found the perfect man, and by perfect she means one that’s worthy of impregnating her. Worried that her biological clock is ticking down to zero, she resorts to artificial insemination in order to become a mother. Shortly after the procedure is complete she “hilariously” bumps into handsome cheese farmer (yes, you read that correctly) Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), and their apparent chemistry causes our expecting mother to fret over whether to tell him or not, and how he will react. Oh who cares?
There is only one reason why this film exists and that’s its Latino poster girl, so it’s only fair that the share of the blame rests squarely on her shoulders. So far from her initial career promise this is a performance of cartoonish prissiness that irks from the initial insipid voiceovers (that quickly vanish as a narrative device) through to the cloying finale.
In fact none of the characters’ dilemmas carry any real weight; O’Loughlin as our six-packed fancy man frets over whether he can afford to raise children, but never once does he take a look around at the hundred-acre farm that he lives on. These people have no grasp of reality.
The Back-up Plan is the type of romantic comedy that thinks you can substitute emoting for a pop music montage, and comedy for crudity. When the big laugh revolves around faecal matter you know you’re in trouble. There is also a hugely misjudged water birthing sequence that is so over-the-top and downright creepy that it wouldn’t have looked out of place in Rosemary’s Baby.
I preferred Gigli.