“The Back-up Plan”
2 out of 4 stars
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Michaela Watkins and Anthony Anderson.
Now playing at West Theatre.
The ticking of a woman’s biological clock doesn’t necessarily sync up with her love life. When that happens, she may need to enlist “The Back-up Plan.”
And even then, sometimes she may have to head back to the drawing board.
When New Yorker Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) first meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), she doesn’t think much of him, although he is quickly smitten. As they continue to have “chance” encounters, she begins to fall for him, too.
There’s just one little hitch in their romance: She’s pregnant.
Terrified of maternity passing her by, Zoe’s taken the precaution of artificial insemination. If only she had met Stan a few days earlier…
Although she doesn’t want to push him into fatherhood, he’s willing to make the situation work despite the unorthodox circumstances. However, what neither of them has bargained for is nine months of bodily fluctuations, a sudden rush of financial responsibility and the impending thought that the two of them just might not be able to work as a couple.
One wonders if there was a point in time when Lopez decided that she wanted to make the same movie over and over, with the basic template being “girl meets boy and everything is wonderful except for one detail.”
But instead of the love triangle of “The Wedding Planner,” the class differences of “Maid in Manhattan” or the meddling mother of “Monster-in-Law,” we now have J. Lo facing a smaller problem.
Well, two smaller problems.
Yep, the diva’s recent delivery of twins must have played in to her return to the screen, but Zoe’s pregnancy doesn’t seem quite as realistic considering the actress has gone through the experience.
O’Loughlin isn’t bad as the man who captures her heart, an upstate goat farmer who specializes in selling cheese at farmers markets. After all, you can’t throw a rock in New York City without hitting one of those.
And, a romantic comedy wouldn’t be complete without some wacky friends, exemplified here by Anthony Anderson as a put upon playground dad whom Stan befriends and Michaela Watkins as Zoe’s best friend, Mona, a mother of four who constantly warns our heroine about the horrors of childbirth.
The details of pregnancy are tidbits we all know, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we want to hear and see them, yet the movie doesn’t seem to mind grossing us out at every turn.
Sure, we can sympathize with Zoe’s morning sickness and the regurgitation that comes with it. Her handicapped Boston terrier Nutsy barfing up her used pregnancy test, not so much.
Likewise, Zoe and Stan’s viewing of a living room tub birth is almost as bad for us as it is for them, although comic actress Maribeth Monroe looks like she’s having fun creating guttural noises during the delivery. But it’s still more disgusting than it needs to be.
Plus, what’s the deal with Zoe’s OB/GYN (Robert Klein) and his obsession with the word “vagina?”
The flaw in “The Back-up Plan” is that it crosses into the familiar territory of “Baby Mama,” “Knocked Up” and “Nine Months” and isn’t nearly as funny.
However, the matchup of Lopez and O’Loughlin comes close to saving the romance half of the story through sheer charisma, really looking like an authentic couple.
Lest we forget that true love means being able to stomach watching your mate wolf down beef stew and Gray’s Papaya hot dogs like there’s no tomorrow.
Now playing at West Theatre.