Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quick Look: THE BACK-UP PLAN

I find Jennifer Lopez to be an appealing screen presence, but she makes it hard to defend her work when she appears in so many horrible movies. For every excellent movie like Out of Sight, she turns up in a half-dozen Monster-in-Laws. Her latest terrible effort is The Back-Up Plan in which she is a woman who gets artificially inseminated because she’s worrying about the ticking of her biological clock and her lack of a good man. In a wacky coincidence, on her way out of the doctor’s office, she meets The One (Alex O’Loughlin). This comedy-in-name-only tested my patience by consisting of nothing more than a pile-up of many bad, bland comedy clich├ęs that I detest. There’s an overcomplicated, overreaching high concept. There’s unconvincing, unbelievable characters. There are reaction shots from animals as laugh cues, poorly executed pratfalls, lame sub-sitcom one-liners, and the belief that references to bodily functions are inherently funny. There’s even that all-too-common pregnancy test scene in which the character seems to forget that it is covered with urine. (Later, a secondary character has a birthing scene that is shockingly, aggressively, awful). Director Alan Poul and writer Kate Angelo take every opportunity to turn each scene into an endurance test. The whole movie is nothing more than one long, painfully obvious pregnancy joke lazily, boringly told.

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