J. Lo deglamorized in movie comeback

Dot Ramos Balasbas-Gancayco (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Film review: The Back-up Plan

MANILA, Philippines - Have you ever been pregnant? If yes, do you remember how scary it was? Have you ever given birth? If yes, do you remember how painful it was and how you wanted to wring the neck of whoever should be blamed for all that indescribable suffering? Hmmm, I am sure most men out there will not be able to relate with us but watching this movie will make us mothers remember and our husbands squirm in understanding. Especially since the one playing the role of the pregnant woman is someone who recently had babies herself — the lovely J. Lo.

She has been missing from the big screen for quite a while now but we all remember singer Jennifer Lopez trying her hand in acting in such not-so-easy-to-forget-because-of-its-stars-but-not-the-story movies such as the Wedding Planner and Monster-in-Law. Though many of us dismissed this fabulous singer-actress doing the title role in the “fantasy” movie Maid in Manhattan, J. Lo in The Back-up Plan is totally believable as a funny but much terrified, pregnant, single woman. For someone who needs a powerful kick-off to jumpstart anew a seemingly forgotten movie career, J. Lo proves to one and all that, oh yes, she is here to stay.

Zoe (played by 40-year-old Jennifer Lopez), is a successful and independent New Yorker in her late thirties, who, after several failed relationships, and wanting to have a baby of her own, decides to have herself inseminated. Fate does not approve and punishes her by giving her the Man of Her Dreams — Stan (played by the gorgeous Alex O’Loughlin), on the very same day that she finds out she was impregnated (with twins!) by the unidentified sperm donor. Zoe tries her best to keep away from Stan, but the attraction for each other is so strong and the changes in her hormones make her go all over the guy (one of the reasons why the MTRCB gave it a PG-13 rating), leading to what she had been trying to avoid from the very start — falling in love. Zoe gets honest enough to tell Stan the truth, and Stan is now more terrified than his pregnant girlfriend. “Will it be all about babies? What about me and my needs? How about all those huge expenses? How could I cope with children eating sand and handing me human poo? And so on, and so forth…” But in spite of all his fears, Stan decides to be in but one utterance from him “They’re not mine”, makes Zoe conclude that Stan did not really want to have the babies. There is a heated exchange of hurtful words until Zoe decides to call it quits even if in her heart she knew she needed and loved Stan more than ever.

The romantic comedy gave my 22-year-old son Jon, my 14-year-old daughter Mika and this 40-something writer really good laughs. The most hilarious part is the home-birth scene where a single mothers’ group that Zoe tried to join, before she met Stan, invites the two of them to witness a natural birthing procedure undertaken by of one of its members. The whole movie house shook with our shrieks of laughter as the woman giving birth credibly screamed her head off and contorted her face and body as the baby was about to come out of her womb to the beating of a drum. (Hahaha!) My hats off to J Lo, who apart from gamely doing a dive into the baby birthing pool to make this sequence even funnier, did not mind making herself look the most unglamorous as she devours food like a hungry dog to satisfy her cravings, gets into a garbage truck to get her favorite pillow, throws up here and there, and shows herself to the world as a fat, bursting-at-the-seems-pregnant woman. Best of all, she acted oh, so naturally. (“Pregnancy and giving birth are weird, strange... it’s like an invasion of the body snatchers.” — J. Lo)

I would say that O’Loughlin as Jennifer’s object of affection did manage to deliver his role well, clearly sending the message that although he was afraid of becoming an instant father especially at a time when his finances were not doing well, he was totally committed to Jennifer and to his instant family. With this hunk of an Australian as the one who pursues, any pregnant single woman in real life would be completely out of her mind to ward him off.

So mothers and would-be mothers, get up on your feet and catch this movie with your husband and kids. If no one is willing to accompany you, call your OB Gyne and laugh out loud with your doctor at the hilarious hospital scenes. Jennifer Lopez, the mother of two-year-old fraternal twins Max and Emme, would surely do that.

(E-mail me at celebrationsdot@yahoo.com or text 0927-5000833. Help build houses for the poor through the Gawad Kalinga by calling 718-1738 to 41 or text 0917-5239777.)

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with