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Thursday, April 29, 2010 04:23 am

Back-Up needs a better plan

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Alex O’Loughlin and Jennifer Lopez star in The Back-Up Plan.

Alan Poul’s The Back-Up Plan, is the sort of movie that requires its characters to be idiots so that its inane plot can progress. It also counts on the fact that the audience is just as dim. It asks us to believe that a beauty like pet shop owner Zoe, who looks just like Jennifer Lopez, can’t find anyone in New York City good enough to marry and have a family with. So, she does what any desperate woman would and has herself artificially inseminated. Set for a life of single motherhood, she meets Stan (Alex O’Laughlin), falls for him and breaks the news that she’s with child. Needless to say, complications ensue.

There are so many problems here it’s hard to know where to begin. The cast strains to create a tone of cuteness, which proves grating, while the number of odd circumstances that keep Zoe and Alex running into each other is insulting. Not only do they happen to stumble upon each other trying to nab the same cab, not once but twice, but they also randomly meet at a farmers market. I’m sure this happens in a city of nine million all the time.

That Lopez and O’Laughlin have no chemistry doesn’t help. Neither does the fact that their characters’ intentions change direction like a compass laid atop a magnet. However, this perfectly matches the script, which is all over the place as well. There is a slapstick sequence involving fire, dirt and a water hose, a pregnant J-Lo trawling in a dumpster and a climax involving, you guessed it, a dramatic birth. These scenes speak to the depths to which The Back-Up Plan stoops.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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