Review: The Back-Up Plan

By  · Published on April 23rd, 2010

It’s been four years without J-Lo. Four years. It felt longer. I must’ve missed her. We haven’t been the same since she left. It’s good to know that after four years she hasn’t changed though – not at all. She’s still the same Gigli J-Lo (pronounced Jiggly Jell-O) only now, her character being with child, she’s got the physical figure to match the name. Was that a bad joke? Unoriginal? Probably, but I don’t care. It’s not like The Back-Up Plan can do any better at entertainment, unless Alex O’Loughlin takes his shirt off. If you want I can do the same. That should entertain you, for a different reason.

Lopez is Zoe, a pet store owner that despite being one of the most physically attractive people on most planets has bad luck with men. Or, at least we can presume so since she’s single and doesn’t have any kind of former boyfriends make their way into the story. There must be something wrong with all men. Zoe has aspirations of starting a family, and man in her life or no she’s gonna get one even if she has to pay for sperm to do it. So, she does. However, in an unfortunate encounter in a taxicab with a man that appears to be one of the most physically attractive people on most planets Zoe has one of a couple of chance encounters with this dashing goat farmer/cheese connoisseur.

His name is Stan, played by Alex O’Loughlin who doesn’t need shirts and probably shouldn’t wear any, and he also must have bad luck with the opposite sex. There must be something wrong with all women, and you’ll know that once he takes his shirt off. Why else would a well-tanned, physically fit, inventor of cheeses be available for the taking?

Of course, the two continue to meet and decide that they’re probably way too attractive to not do something together. So, they do stuff together, only now things are more complicated than normal because Gigli-Lo (pronounced like…nevermind) knocked herself up with some purchased sperm of an anonymous red-head. A life changing event of this magnitude puts their commitment to one another at risk, and as the days pass and her stomach protrudes the truth about each other starts to creep out.

Oh. So, I guess there isn’t something wrong with all men and women. Weird.

I like to begin things positively (I also like to actually begin things four paragraphs after the beginning). So, the two leads in The Back-Up Plan look fantastic. Quite possibly their best ever.

However, this is a movie, and a romantic-comedy at that. So, usually, one of these two people have problems which they must overcome by the time the baby is born. That’s what I learned from Nine Months, starring Hugh Grant. I also learned that you need to have a comedian play their doctor, and main characters need to have a friend that’s funnier than they are. The Back-Up Plan saw Nine Months, just as I did, and took excellent notes.

What The Back-Up Plan didn’t plan on is that Alex O’Loughlin and Monster-In-Lo are not Hugh Grant or Julianne Moore, even if Michaela Watkins and Robert Klein fit in nicely for Joan Cusack and Robin Williams. Hell, Anthony Anderson may even be a good Tom Arnold replacement. Congrats. It also figured that two main characters with problems to overcome is better than just one.

Simply put, these are not two very fun people to watch together despite probably making very appealing photographs. She has insecurities, which we eventually learn about because it was necessary, and he, for some reason, gets flustered when pregnant women buy things like strollers and baby clothes. I assume it’s because a lack of money frightens him and by taking an economics night-course he’s learned too much to understand that everyone who’s ever had children must be part of the Fortune 500. Otherwise, how can they afford to live? If only he could be ignorant again.

The Back-Up Plan does have some of its own original pieces. Like, an apparently jealous co-worker of Lopez that disappears from the story after her first date with Stan, only to return in the end and say…nothing. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll see his movie some day.

There’s also a handicapped dog present to look cute and eat the pregnancy test so that they can tell a vomit joke and add no real conflict at all. It succeeds on all counts.

I’ve sat through Irreversible, Anti-Christ, Martyrs, and just about every other cringe-inducing film of the past few years. I might prefer to have been in those films experiencing those mutilations than to have watched The Back-Up Plan. Aside from Michaela Watkins as Lopez’s best friend who did put a smile on my face for most of her scenes I would wish to be able to forget what I watched, but like those previously listed shockers I think it’s been ingrained. But, I guess it was all worth it to see Alex O’Loughlin without a shirt.

The Upside: I don’t know, you tell me. Oh, Michaela Watkins is pretty good. Give her a movie.

The Downside: The movie.

On The Side: A documentary called Best Worst Movie opens in select cities this weekend. That documentary and the film which it’s about are better than this worse movie.