Movie Review: The Back-up Plan (2010)

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Although they seem to be cranked out faster than any other genre -- regardless of the fact that romantic comedy movies are statistically at an all time high due to the sheer amount -- the quality of the formerly feel-wonderful genre is at an all time low.

And perhaps because the film would've already written it's own reviews if they would've gone with the original title of Plan B, the ever-so-slightly more subtle Back-up Plan is nonetheless the type of romantic comedy mess we see far too often.

It certainly didn't need to be this way as Will & Grace scribe Kate Angelo created an inventive and naturally funny premise about a hardworking thirty-something New York woman who gets successfully artificially inseminated (aka clinically impregnated) just a few mere minutes before she meets the man who could be “the one.” So much for her predicted "Plan B" or now re-phrased "back-up plan."

Yet burying the film in stereotypical characters like a new age single mother support group, the tell-it-like-it-is as crass as possible best friend and layering on ingredients from other movies by giving heroine Jennifer Lopez a cute pet shop to run and a disabled dog to boot and then adding ill-suited gross out gags certainly bogs down Angelo's formerly promising premise.

Equally plagued with nonexistent chemistry from its two leads – Jennifer Lopez and Australian newcomer Alex O'Loughlin -- you can begin predicting the additional curveballs hurled at the couple as they tentatively try to make their courtship work despite Lopez's planned yet untimely pregnancy.

Obviously, given the amount of films in the genre, any change to the order of love, marriage and parenthood is welcome. However, Angelo takes what could've been originally viewed as a sort of Nine Months meets an Adam Sandler movie and makes it into a sudsy movie about trust issues wherein the female characters all end up being painted as irrational shrews.

Thus we realize that in addition to the title change, the tone changes so much we're not even sure anyone involved knew which particular story out of a dozen they were trying to tell that day.

She has a few breakthrough moments but unfortunately it's not enough to make the final result cohesive and/or interesting as I couldn't help wondering how much more enjoyable and original the romantic comedy would've been if it would've been told from O'Loughlin's point-of-view since some of The Back-up Plan's best scenes center on his newfound friendship with a playground dad.

And while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's odd couple insemination tale Baby Mama may have been guilty of feeling like a big screen version of a sitcom, The Back-up Plan is guilty of feeling like it's already way past its due date for a straight-to-disc release.

While Lopez has proven charming in the past in both Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner and even downright impressed me with her sizzling chemistry with George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight, she's downright bored in this embarrassing mess of a film.

Furthermore, despite its faux chick lit sunny opening, it's an altogether ugly work that demands the most ridiculous behavior out of director Alan Poul's leading lady from asking her to take a late-term dumpster dive to look for a pillow, play tug-of-war with a pregnancy test pee stick and dig through upchuck to discover whether or not she's got a bun in the oven in ways that give the audience -- instead of our character -- morning sickness.

Pointless, crass, and just plain uninspired; it's no doubt impossible to decipher just what the plan was for Plan only to make you wonder if Plan B might've been better after all if this is what is considered the filmmakers' "Plan A.”

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I attended a free press screening of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.