AWFJ Women On Film – “The Back-Up Plan” – Review by Susan Granger

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It’s fortunate that Jennifer Lopez has her own back-up plan as a pop singer because her taste in romantic comedies reeks of formulaic and stale.

In Manhattan, an attractive thirtysomething woman named Zoe (that’s Lopez) realizes that her biological clock is ticking faster than her ability to latch onto and land Mr. Right, so she decides to have a baby using artificial insemination. And wouldn’t ya know? Immediately after the procedure, just as she’s leaving the office of the fertility specialist (Robert Klein) in the pouring rain, Zoe and another soaked pedestrian, Stan (Aussie Alex O’Laughlin), grab the same taxi. He’s rude and they squabble over occupant’s rights but it’s obvious from the getgo that they’re going to wind up together.

But first we learn that Zoe’s given up a corporate job to run a politically correct (that means it’s not a puppy mill) pet shop called Hudson Mutts with two supportive employees (Eric Christian Olsen, Noureen DeWulf). She shares her apartment with a disabled Boston bull terrier, named Nuts, and she has a wise grandmother (Linda Lavin) who lives in a retirement home. Zoe and Stan meet again because he runs a weekend cheese stand in TriBeCa. One thing leads to another and when Zoe takes a look at this shirtless stud muffin driving a tractor at his sustainable goat farm in upstate New York, her chemistry starts churning. Problem is: she’s already pregnant – which obviously stuns Stan, particularly when it turns out that she’s going to have twins.

Utilizing a cliché-ridden script by Kate Angelo, director Alan Poul adds nothing fresh to this bland concoction. So on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Back-Up Plan” is a tepid, forgettable 4. Now if you don’t listen to the drivel and only look at Jennifer Lopez, she’s certainly a stunner. After giving birth to twins in real life, she’s diet-and-exercised herself back into sleek, stunning shape; there’s even a scene in which she exhibits her famous posterior. But is that enough to justify the price of admission?

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.