The Back-Up Plan
In the case of The Back-Up Plan, love blossoms within minutes of Lopez’s successful career girl undertaking her first round of artificial insemination to achieve her dream of a papoose to match her designer-label handbag. In any other relationship comedy, finding Mr Right would be a moment of joyful celebration but here, the feisty heroine must deliberate whether to tell her beau that the fluttering in her stomach every time she sees him isn’t just butterflies. Corporate high flier Zoe (Lopez) gave up her stressful job and cashed in her stock options to buy a downtown pet store (what? It’s, like, totally kooky.) A chance encounter with Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), who runs a dairy stall at a New York farmer’s market, puts a healthy glow in Zoe’s cheeks and she is forced to confess everything to her employees, Clive (Eric Christian Olsen) and Daphne (Noureen DeWulf), who take an active interest in her normally non-existent love life. “He makes cheese” smiles Jennifer- we mean – Zoe. “He’s a pilgrim?!” retorts Clive jealously.
High budget, low expectations
The fledgling romance goes from strength to strength in the way that only a high budget rom-com can, and eventually Zoe is forced to tell Stan that in nine months he will be playing surrogate father to a pair of ginger-haired mewling tots. It’s a massive shock to the system, Stan wonders if he is ready for fatherhood, looks at kids in a park in order to get the measure of his feelings etc etc. Meanwhile, worrywart Zoe ponders whether she actually needs a man or if she should revert to her old plan of becoming a single parent. “No wonder you got a sperm donor, he’s the perfect boyfriend because he’ll never let you down” laments gal pal (see “the sassy one”), Mona (Michaela Watkins).
Phone it in, Jen
The Back-Up Plan seems to have been written with Sandra Bullock in mind, mixing physical comedy (a pregnant Zoe falling face first into the back seat of a cab, ha HAHAHA) with dewy-eyed emotional outpourings. O’Loughlin, who at least gets to flaunt his rock-hard abs during an interlude on the family goat farm – a small boost, seeing as his name isn’t even on the poster – is an attractive match for Lopez, but there’s scant sexual chemistry between them. More worrying, Zoe spends so much of the movie activating the self-destruct button on the seemingly-perfect relationship with Alex that we ultimately lose sympathy for her and agree that she would be better off alone. All in all, yet another Lopez arse fest. Leave us be, Jennifer? Please?