Radio 04.23.10
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on a film opening today at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
“The Back-up Plan” is one of those cute romantic comedies that’s refreshingly simple.  It doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t.  Boy meets Girl.  Boy and Girl pretend they aren’t interested.  Boy and Girl start seeing each other.  They encounter problems.  They break up.  They get back together.  Boy and Girl live happily ever after.  All the romantics are satisfied.  The only suspense is in how we get there.
            Jennifer Lopez plays Zoe, who owns a pet store in Manhattan .  She’s been open to a relationship, but it just hasn’t worked out, and her biological clock is ticking so loudly, and she wants a family so badly, that she decides to just go ahead and have a baby, anyway.  She arranges for artificial insemination, and we meet her at the clinic, worrying about how her toenails need a pedicure (well, we have to find humor somewhere).  Alex O’Loughlin plays Stan, who owns a farm in upstate, a goat/cheese place he inherited from his parents, and he’s selling his wares on the streets of Manhattan , trying to develop a customer base.  The first time Stan and Zoe meet, it’s pouring rain, and they each get in different sides of the cab, and they both think that the other’s trying to steal their cab.  But after a couple more not-so-chance encounters, they begin to develop an interest in each other, except now there’s another problem.  She’s pregnant.  And he’s not the father.
            Well, in a strange kind of parody, it’s like the Virgin Mary telling Joseph that the baby isn’t his, but he’s welcome to be the husband, anyway.  Oh, and she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she conceived without participating in a sexual act.  (Well, at least Zoe doesn’t try to claim she was visited by an angel.)
            Can Stan still love her, even though she is obviously distracted by her pregnancy?  Can they develop their relationship while she’s growing bigger by the day?  Jennifer Lopez is actually pretty good at the sight gags.  Her movie experience is kind of a mixed bag:  from the awkward disaster which was “Gigli” (with former beau Ben Affleck) to a winsome part in “Maid in Manhattan ” to an iconic performance in “Selena”.  Yes, she can sing and dance, though here she does the former only on the soundtrack and the latter not at all.  What she does here is the kind of “everywoman” romantic role, like a Sandra Bullock or a Jennifer Anniston, that people will instinctively identify with, and reflexively enjoy.  Throw in a few too-cute dog tricks, some stumbling sight gags, and just a little risqué humor, and you have a feel-good Friday night popcorn movie.
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93.5 KICK-FM