It’s nice to see a born star like Jennifer Lopez back in a movie, even if it’s a movie like The Back-Up Plan
. As New York pet store owner Zoe, a stagnant love life and biological pressure leads her to become artificially inseminated, only to fall for the right guy later that day (that’s just the way of the world when you live in a $35-million romantic comedy). Trading getting-to-know-you barbs with new love interest Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), their lines are too perfect, the first date night extravagance and disaster is too cute. But the stars’ charisma play it up as old-style charm. It isn’t until the second half, as the woes of impending motherdom take over, that The Back-up Plan
loses its initially controlled tone for routine tedium. The worst element is a single-mother support group that’s repeatedly made fun of as some sort of couple-hating voodoo practice. It’s a cartoon aspect, but its demonization, and Zoe’s shock toward it, underlines the movie’s fear of abnormality. Skimping understanding for repackaged formula, The Back-up Plan
’s rom-com delusions are essentially worthless.