The Back-up Plan

redThere are dopey chick flicks and then there are chick flicks so incredibly imbecilic they form their own sub genre: the chick-idiot flick, aka the chidiot.

J-Lo’s latest cinematic sledgehammer to the senses is The Back-up Plan, an alleged  romantic “comedy” about a woman who meets the man of her dreams on the day she becomes artificially inseminated. Oh! The, erm, irony? Not exactly. The, um, tragedy? Nope. The, er, sheer crazy randomness of life?

You’d be right in thinking this premise isn’t really a premise – certainly nothing to structure 90 minutes around. Director Alan Poul obviously disagrees and the resulting movie is his dementedly dewy-eyed experiment in proving us wrong.

Less than ten minutes in, after the glossy-faced leads have met in the back of a taxi – oh, how coincidental! – The Back-up Plan has already mounted considerable heights of nausea.

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) and Stan (Alex O’Laughlin) do the inevitable rom-com to-ing and fro-ing for what feels like an eternity, pretending there is any doubt they will end up together. She’s the owner of quirky pet store; he’s a heart of gold dairy farmer with a difference – namely that he enjoys driving tractors while shirtless. Mills and Boon, eat ya heart out. This is soft, soft porn for grandmas.

The dramatics between Zoe and Stan are Chupa Chub confected. One contrived chance encounter is all it takes to set in motion a gooey stream of crude sentiments and before you know it they’re yakking about first kisses, best kisses, the ins and outs of dairy farming, babies, multiple babies and ohdearhowareweevergoingtocopewithallthis? The lines are delivered moony-eyed, with dialogue exchanges like:

”I’ll call you.”
“I’ll wait by the phone.”

Bad move on both accounts. After watching this maudlin, mushy mess – if I were a lesser critic I’d be prone to call it a cinematic miscarriage – viewers would be best advised to zip-up their trousers, leave a fake number, don’t call the next day, and pretend this ghastly night out never happened.

The Back-up Plan’s Australian theatrical release date: May 20, 2010

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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