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The Back-Up Plan

Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

JENNIFER Lopez is no stranger to lousy rom-coms (see Maid in Manhattan or Gigli) but it’s still disappointing to find that her taste hasn’t improved with age!

The Back-Up Plan is another terrible addition to a CV that started to brightly with the likes of U-Turn and Out Of Sight.

Poorly conceived, badly scripted and frequently offensive, the film struggles to convince by virtue of its lame premise… and then repeatedly delivers one bad taste joke after another.

Lopez plays beautiful, successful pet shop owner Zoe who decides to impregnate herself after struggling to find Mr Perfect. On the day of that impregnation, however, she meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), a charming cheese salesman who just happens to be ‘the one’.

But while Stan is more than keen to take on Zoe and all that comes with her, the path to giving birth and staying together doesn’t always run smooth.

Directed by Alan Poul (of Six Feet Under fame), The Back-Up Plan is a pretty poor attempt to combine rom-com laughs with humour based around the true messiness of pregnancy.

But while elements of this could have made for an eye-opening crowd-pleaser, the film ruthlessly squanders every opportunity to be funny. A 12A certificate, meanwhile, seems especially shocking and may well traumatise any younger teen (or pre-teen) who dares go and see it.

Supposed ‘laughs’ come from an extended birthing scene in a pool, which comes complete with poo, or the sight of vaginal blood after an early examination (twice, just for good measure). Lopez’s central character, meanwhile, seems to treat the demands of pregnancy as though she were auditioning for a Three Stooges movie given the many pratfalls that befall her.

Most, if not all, of the women behave hysterically over the top, while the men merely exist to be exasperated and stand by helplessly.

Lopez and O’Loughlin do manage to generate some easygoing chemistry and deliver far better performances than the script should allow.

But nothing and no one can save The Back-Up Plan from the groan-inducing disaster it eventually becomes. The best course of action is therefore to abort any plans to venture out and see it.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 104mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: September 20, 2010