Plan B

Plan B

Deepa Kollipara

Jennifer Lopez restarts her acting career with a not-so new romantic twist

After the invasive amount of tepid rom-coms, I'm starting to suspect that somewhere in Hollywood lies a movie-making manual containing really easy assembling instructions.

Cue "The Back-Up Plan"—another laboratory-grown romance offering light comedy with platitudes about the importance of settling down, and nothing else. Even chick flick fans will end up torturing themselves watching 106 minutes of no chemistry between the leads.

With Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock presumably busy, the throne of the confident and beautiful, yet somehow single thirty-something heroine falls to Jennifer Lopez, who plays a successful and unfulfilled Zoe, a pet-shop owner whose biological clock is ticking fast and opts for artificial insemination. It's her back-up plan, you see.

Looks like first-time director Alan Poul avoided a scripting copyright lawsuit simply by changing the order of his rom-com: have a baby, fall in love, and then get married. Yes, a highly shocking twist. In "The Back-Up Plan", Zoe finds her not-so-novel love story in a slightly different order. Photo taken from CBS Films.

As Zoe walks out of the OB-GYN's office, then, and only then, she meets her perfect man, cheese-maker Stan (Alex O'Loughlin). The two exchange a couple of "cheesy" (pun intended) scenes, but Stan is unaware of Zoe's little secret. Once Stan learns of Zoe's pregnancy, he wastes the next 90 minutes of our lives contemplating over the prospect of having a ready-made family.

Despite the unoriginal plot, there are some high points to the movie. Lopez saves this movie from a complete debacle, comfortably balancing her cookie-cutter role with surprising character quirks that make her entertaining and believable: pigging out on food, getting a bout of morning sickness while Stan says "I love you", using profane humor and seeking advice from the painfully funny "Single Mothers Support Group."

Unfortunately, the same can't be said of her man. Alternating between creepy stalker and sappy goofball for the first half-hour, Stan eventually becomes nothing more than wallpaper — a shirtless hunk and a caring man who wants to open his own food shop. It's a thankless role, and O'Loughlin can't do much more than sit there and look pretty.

You might need a Plan B this weekend—Plan Back Out, that is.