PG-13 Dir: Peter Segal | Universal | 1h 43min
Plot: What’s it about?
I do not like Jennifer Lopez. Never have. Most likely never will. A co-worker of mine summed her up very nicely: “She does a lot of things kind of well. She excels at mediocrity.” And she was right. But, to her credit, J-Lo (or whatever you want to call her) has done well for herself. As one of the “fly girls” on In Living Color, she’s come a long way and she’s got legions of fans. There is something to be said for that no matter what my personal feelings for her are. Simply put, she’s found her element in feature films playing the same role in Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and other similar films. Yes, there are films like Enough that were somewhat of a departure, but she’s always got the romantic comedy genre to fall back on. And here, she did. Oh, also Anaconda. I liked that one. But not for her. Let’s move on.
And it’s here that we meet Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez), someone who’s stuck in that dreaded “Assistant Manager” role at a Queens Value Shop. She’s sick and tired of being passed over for promotions since she lacks that little piece of sheepskin called a “college degree.” Things change for her when her godchild, Dilly (Dalton Harrod), the son of her BFF Joan (Leah Reminni) concocts a fake resume and social media profile. Gone is her former life and now she’s a graduate of two Ivy League schools: Wharton School of Business (aka “The University of Pennsylvania”) and, of course, Harvard. She also has the newfound ability to speak flawless Mandarin (ok, not really). This lands her a job at an organic skin product company as a big wig and who her boss, Andersen Clarke (Treat Williams) is eager to show her off. And there’s inevitable run in with his daughter, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens) whose a top executive. Who will come out on top: nature or nurture?
There’s a plot twist in there that I won’t divulge. It’s essentially the film’s only redeeming quality. But it’s not so much that you go “Ohhh…didn’t expect THAT!” It’s more along the lines of “Oh…interesting.” I’ll say no more. For all intents and purposes, this is still Jennifer Lopez doing what she does best – mediocrity. She turns in a decent performance, but ironically (given the film’s message), there are hundreds of latino actresses that could have done just as good of a job. But Jennifer Lopez has the marquee name so she got the part. Are you choking on irony yet? I will say that Leah Remini steals nearly every scene she’s in, so if for no other reason to see her scene-chewing character, maybe check it out for that. This won’t, and didn’t, win any awards and made back a few times the budget. And, sadly, it’s not the end for Jennifer Lopez. Odds are that when you turn on your television, you’ll see her somewhere.
Video: How’s it look?
Try as I might, I cannot seem to expunge seeing this movie out of my head. So with that said, the 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer does look a bit better than its standard DVD counterpart, also included in this set. The shots of New York tend to look a bit sharper and cleaned up than before. Detail is bumped up as well and flesh tones seem very warm and natural. We get all sorts of cute outfits of J-Lo once she’s lied her way into her new job (admittedly, she does have an eye for fashion), but don’t expect to be blown away by the way this looks. It’s good, yes, but I’ve seen television commercials that look like this, too.
Audio: How’s it sound?
There’s an old saying that goes like this: “You can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig.” I think that’s how it goes, anyway. Such is the case for Second Act whose DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments, but it’s still a victim of the dreaded rom-com genre. There’s a bit of atmosphere in some of the early scenes, but by and large the movie is dialogue-driven. Surrounds are nearly non-existent, but do chime in on a few instances. I wouldn’t expect that viewers would expect much out of this one on the audio front. And that’s good, because it doesn’t give a lot.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Ok, we do get five line items, but in all reality we get under five minutes’ worth of extras. This has got to be a new low. Then again, it’s a Jennifer Lopez movie, so for me: the less, the better.
- Connecting with Milo Ventimiglia – This one doesn’t even run a minute. We have Jennifer Lopez talking about her co-star and he, in turn, talks about her and her character. Deep.
- The Empowering Women of Second Act – Don’t be insulted ladies, but this one doesn’t even run a minute either. We get an all too brief segment about the “empowerment” of the women both on and off the screen.
- Friendship On and Off Screen – I guess Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini are friends off screen. If you didn’t know that, now you do. This one also runs just under a minute.
- Working with the Ones You Love – If you watched the above three supplements, and if you had three extra minutes in your day – you could, this basically sums them up.
- Theatrical Trailer – The most robust supplement on the disc is this – the theatrical trailer. Yay!
The Bottom Line
My opinion on Jennifer Lopez has not changed. Yes, even the “twist” in the plot really didn’t change much. It did veer from the prototypical rom-com plot formula just a bit, but even if this was supposed to be something earth-shattering it was clearly mis-marketed. Fans of the genre or Lopez might find something in here to like, but for me I kept looking at my watch every few minutes. The clock could not go any slower. Its’ a J-Lo movie – you know what you’re going to get.