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The Back-up Plan

J.Lo's Back

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is consumed by the desire to have a baby. Actually, Zoe could rightly be described as obsessed with having a baby. Everywhere she looks she sees babies. With no boyfriend/significant other on the horizon, Zoe comes up with a ‘back-up plan’ and decides to explore artificial insemination.

Unfortunately, Zoe meets a potential suitor in Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) who threatens to screw everything up shortly after she’s inseminated. Cue the pregnancy-infused pratfalls in The Back-up Plan.

Admittedly, the concept for The Back-up Plan is clever, more than a bit intriguing, and timely. There are countless women out there for whom the idea of getting inseminated and going it alone with their pregnancy resonates. There are so many great directions this film could have gone, but instead what we get is a pretty saccharine, trite piece that ultimately undermines the entire notion of “a back-up plan”.

Part of the problem is that Zoe is supposed to come across as cute and charming (presumably), but her baby lust actually manages to make her a bit disconcerting, creepy, and annoying. Perhaps this explains why she hasn’t found that special someone. It’s a bit hard to tell if this is Jennifer Lopez’s fault or the fault of the writing/directing.

Chances are, it’s a nice little mélange of all of the aforementioned. Lopez has made a fortune playing an adorable, hopelessly single lady in numerous romantic comedies, so she’s got the chops to pull this kind of thing off, but Zoe effectively seems like an amalgam of the characters she’s played in films like ]b\The Wedding Planner, Monster-In-Law, etc. There’s nothing about her that is compelling. Well, aside from her obvious assets.

Alex O’Loughlin does a serviceable job as the potential fly in Zoe’s ointment, so to speak. While Zoe initially resists his overtures, Stan is handsome and charming enough to eventually get into her good graces. They actually make a relatively cute couple, but it’s a bit difficult to fully understand why Stan is so drawn to Zoe aside from the aforementioned assets she possesses.

While there are plenty of ridiculous antics and pratfalls, there aren’t a ton of quality laughs to be had in The Back-up Plan. In fact, the best laughs are in the previews and involve Anthony Anderson (as Playground Dad) bemoaning the trials and tribulations of being a parent. It’s an all too brief moment. Tthe home birthing scene in the latter stages of the film elicits a few solid laughs, as well.

At the end of the day, The Back-up Plan is simply lacking in too many departments to recommend it. If you’re a diehard fan of romantic comedies and set your expectations perilously low, you might not walk away from this one feeling like you completely wasted your time. But, I doubt it.