film review: The Back-Up Plan

Opening scene: Zoe is freaking out because she hadn’t gotten a pedi to go to her OB/GYN.
Doctor says: “I’m not looking at your toes. I’m looking at your cervix.”

Of course as there are few original films out, The Back-Up Plan is a remake of 1995’s A Modern Affair with Stanley Tucci and Lisa Eichhorn. Zoe [Jennifer Lopez] has always wanted a baby although she thought she’d do so the “traditional” way with a husband. The day that she is artificially inseminated– and her artificial insemination takes the FIRST go-around. I’d like to know how often that happens– she and Stan [Alex O’Loughlin], an organic farmer, meet-cute in a cab. The pair are smitten but of course the pregnancy *may* complicate things.

It’s that Hollywood Rom-Com theory –once you give up on guys and make your own plan to have a child without a guy involved– you get involved with a guy. But it’s also that fairytale world where everything falls together in the end. All your dreams magically come true.

Mona, her friend with four children, tells her her boobs will look like tube socks and then says she doesn’t even want to tell what it will do to bladder. So supportive. When Zoe shops for baby supplies she’s totally overwhelmed by everything. Zoe skeptically attends a class called Single Mothers. She laments: “Thought I’d have kids by now. Guess it’s time from my back-up plan.” There’s a water birth in the film– great to show it– however it turns into a cliched joke with women beating drums and tons of screaming when I think it’s supposed to be much more peaceful. It’s chaotic and psychotic.

The Back-Up Plan contains plenty of slapstick moments and even a few bathroom humor jokes. Stan goes to kiss Zoe on their first date and spills red wine on her new dress. The table is set on fire. She grabs a hose and gets him soaked and then they have a water fight. Zoe goes to tell her nana that she’s pregnant and of course the lady can’t hear her and then those she’s walking with yell: “She’s pregnant, turn up your hearing aid!” On date two, Stan invites Zoe away for the weekend to see his farm. She drives in and sees him shirtless on tractor and crashes her car. Ugh ugh. Sexist/ body image alert: Zoe struggle to get dressed for a fancy event and can barely squeeze herself into dress and Stan says “Do you have a jacket?” Once at the event, she stands in the mirror looking at herself while sucking in her stomach.

The Back-Up Plan is not surprising at all but very predictable. I also think it’s so unrealistic that they have two dates and are starting to envision a life together. Does that really happen because in all my dating, it has never happened to me. Another sexist moment: When admitting to her friend she’s falling for this guy, she thinks about being a “barefoot” stay-at-home mom. The script is written by Kate Angelo [What About Brian] which appalls me. How can a woman write such a banal script? But then I think about Tina Fey’s insidious Baby Mama.

Jennifer Lopez is charming, laid back and naturally glowing. Lopez and O’Loughlin have a low-key, effortless chemistry. Lopez needs better material like Out of Sight.

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