Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Michaela Watkins, Eric Christian Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Noureen DeWulf, Melissa McCarthy, Tom Bosley, Maribeth Monroe, Danneel Harris, Robert Klein, Linda Lavin, Carlease Burke, Amy Block, Jennifer Elise Cox
Written by: Kate Angelo
Directed by: Alan Poul
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content including references, some crude material and language
Running Time: 106
Date: 04/23/2010

The Back-up Plan (2010)

1 Star (out of 4)

Baby Lumps

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Alan Poul, a TV veteran making his feature debut, The Back-up Plan drags out every lazy romantic comedy cliché in the book. The lovers withhold information from each other, and then get mad and run away when the truth comes out. (In one scene, the heroine tells the truth out loud, but a cut reveals that she's only speaking to herself in a mirror. Huh. Never seen that one before.) The characters are paper-thin and their journey together is entirely routine and totally predictable.

New York pet store owner Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) wants to have a baby but can't find "Mr. Right." Worried that time is passing her by, she goes to her back-up plan: artificial insemination. Later that same day, she meets Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), a cheese maker, who turns out to be "the one." By the time Zoe discovers she's pregnant and Stan hears the news, they are already in love. Stan must learn to deal with the shock of suddenly becoming a father, while Zoe must learn to trust that Stan isn't going to run away.

But the movie also has the unfortunate side effect of making both pregnancy and impending parenthood look unappealing and even terrifying. For a movie with such a chaste setup, it has a very oddly cynical view of such things. If this was the "back up," the filmmakers probably should have stuck to the original plan: don't make crappy movies.

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