CBS has taken a gamble with its film division, but the offerings its delivered has been a notch above Lifetime movies. Their latest, The Back-Up Plan, is a romantic comedy that shifts the female ambition from getting married to having a baby, husband be damned! While the film has a few interesting points, mainly attempting to convey how a male would view these things, the film plods along like a bad movie of the week with a story that lacks any love or heart and a romance that feels like a business arrangement. CBS might want to reconsider their foray into the movie business because The Back-Up Plan will only be good for primetime viewing on their channel.
Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is desperate to have a baby and decides to have in-vitro fertilization in order to make her dream come true. As she leaves the office she meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), and the two begin a relationship. When Zoe discovers she’s not only pregnant, but pregnant with twins, she fears Stan will leave her. Instead Stan decides to craft a life with Zoe but the two are forced to confront long-standing fears with commitment and other things that develop in a relationship before children.
The script isn’t anything to write home about and the movie is boring for about 94 of its 104 minute runtime but there is a slight glimmer of something towards the end of the movie. After the couple have broken and made up several times Stan ends up giving a speech asking Zoe why he should take her back after she’s done nothing but push him away. It almost seemed like the movie was bringing to light the fluffier aspects of romantic comedies like this where the men return to the relationship without any discussion of it. It seemed like the movie was trying to be different than what had come before and it’s a shame that this scene comes towards the tail end of the film. For a comedy the only humor will come from the poor little dog in a makeshift wheelchair. His constant topples and facial expressions are hilarious but most are seen in the trailers so there’s no real incentive to see this.
As much as I slam romantic comedies normally this was by far one of the worst. The plot seems like a bad film for the Lifetime or Oxygen channel and the relationship between Stan and Zoe is about as romantic as a funeral. Jennifer Lopez tries so hard to be likeable that it doesn’t seem like she’s acting, just overt faking her performance. Stan and Zoe have about two dates before Stan just jumps into fathering Zoë’s babies and picking out name! From the word “go” it’s almost like at the end it’ll be revealed that Stan is the sperm donor, that’s how contrived their relationship seems. Alex O’Loughlin is a good looking guy but he’s as wooden as a bored and just spits out the lines and makes puppy-dog eyes. The humor is predictable and lifeless, mainly because it seems Lopez has lost any sense of comedic timing she might possess. The side characters are also horrible, the majority of them coming from Zoë’s stereotypical single mothers club consisting of lesbians and a woman who still breast-feeds her three-year-old. The movie doesn’t give any accurate depiction of single women, who are attempting to raise children on their own, a number that is steadily increasing, it practically yells that the only women who do this are the aforementioned lesbians and weird “hippie” type women. Once Zoe meets Stan the group has to take a vote on whether she can even stay in. There’s also a birthing scene involving one of the women that seems to have some sort of underwater shot of her actually giving birth. For a PG-13 movie that seemed highly inflammatory for a movie with such a light rating.
The Back-Up Plan is a bad made-for-television film; it’s surprising that it went to theaters at all! The acting is atrocious, the jokes are stupid and the story doesn’t attempt to give any type of authenticity to the story it’s portraying. Skip this entirely or if you happen to enjoy the actors wait for this to inevitably make its way to any of the female-based television stations in your area.