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The Back-up Plan (2010) *

April 22, 2010

Written by: Kate Angelo

Produced by: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch

Directed by: Alan Poul

Rated PG-13 for sexual content including references, some crude material and language

106 min.

U.S. Release Date: April 23, 2010

I, by no means, consider myself a “chick flick” enthusiast.  However, I am aware enough of the genre to know that “The Back-up Plan” brings nothing new or refreshing to its family of lady-centric films.  I usually begin my reviews with a bit of rhetoric and a cliff-hanging question, but there’s no candy-coating this one.  Jennifer “J-Lo” Lopez and virtual unknown Alex O’Loughlin team up to develop a super-creepy relationship that begins with stalking and unrealistic trust.  I completely understand that the draw of a “chick flick” is not the worldview-changing revelations or the Oscar-worth performances, but “The Back-up Plan” aims lower than the already frighteningly low standard of the genre.

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is a thirty-something pet shop owner from New York City who is fed up with looking for “Mr. Right”.  She has baby fever and is not looking for the right guy to… take care of that for her.  After months of deliberation, Zoe decides to go through an insemination procedure (check that off the list of things I thought I’d never type in a film review) and take on motherhood on her own.  As fate would have it, in a rain-soaked blitz to hail a cab — just outside of her doctor’s office – Zoe jumps into a cab at the same moment as Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), a strapping young goat farmer from upstate New York.  Initially, Zoe is creeped out by Stan, but his infatuation with her and his persistence wear on her a bit.

As Zoe and Stan tackle a blooming relationship, Zoe finds out that her procedure was successful and that she is pregnant.  Struggling over whether to tell Stan or not, she finally fesses up and is shocked to find out that her man isn’t going anywhere.  After all the secrets are out, Stan and Zoe begin their relationship in fast-forward as they wrestle an interesting pregnancy, as well as getting to know each other at the same time.

Just like a mindless “guys night out” action film, “chick flicks” have their own flavor of ridiculousness.  However, genre-related flaws aren’t the problem with this film.  The script is absolutely brutal, for starters.  Red flags went flying up when O’Loughlin’s character does something to aggravate Lopez’s, and she proceeds to call him a “stupid head”.  While some of the chosen language is immature and slightly embarrassing to watch at times, the situations that these characters are put in are outlandish at best.  Stan basically stalks Zoe around New York City (a difficult place to find a person once, let alone many times) and shows up in various places where she is.  I understand that it is a female fantasy for a man to become absolutely obsessed and fall head-over-heels for her, but there is a fine line between falling deeply in love and being a stalker.  In the real world, this fantasy would evaporate when the reality of a creepy man following a woman around would sink in.

Those of you who live for “chick flicks” will inevitably see this film anyway.  When you do, I recommend that you rent it in a few months when it blazes through theater circulation and hits the rental shelves.  Being a married man, and a fan of the female variety for some time now, I have seen many “chick flicks”.  When compared to the genre, “The Back-up Plan” falls flat as it presents the viewer with insane dialogue (not in a good way) and borderline frightening situations if they played out in the real world.  Gentlemen, no matter how much your lady-friend urges you to see this, do your best to stay away and rent it for a cozy night in further down the road.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David J. Fowlie permalink*
    April 22, 2010 4:45 pm

    What? You mean Anthony Anderson and Linda Lavin couldn’t save this film?!?! The horror! Is it coincidental that this is the second film that CBS Films has released this year? The first was that Harrison Ford debacle “Extraordinary Measures” which seemed more “ordianry” than “extra”. I think maybe the studio execs should take a hint from this film’s title. They have three more releases this year, so they could redemm themselves….but then again their next film is entitled “Beastly” and it’s starring Mary Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris!


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