No matter how many times you watch a romantic comedy, the chances of it not ending up with the two leads being together in the end is slim to none. There are a few out there that buck the trend, but the vast majority knows what the audiences want and in a bid not to disappoint them or stress them out, we get delivered another syrupy romantic comedy that plays by all the rules and never steps out of bounds. Such is the case with Jennifer Lopez’s latest foray into the genre with The Back-Up Plan, another very poorly received but financially successful film to add to her resume. With Lopez being pretty much the only big-name actor in the entire production, the film kind of came and went after its April debut with little fanfare during its thirteen week run. Still, the $35 million budget was more than doubled with worldwide tickets sales taken into account, so I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of Lopez in this genre.
Jennifer Lopez stars as Zoe, a single New Yorker who dreams about meeting Mr. Right, having a baby and living happily ever after. But after a string of Mr. Wrongs, Zoe commits to her back-up plan: to take on motherhood alone. Zoe’s plan proves far from foolproof when moments after her procedure she’s swept up into a whirlwind romance with Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), the man of her dreams. Can Zoe hide her pregnancy until Stan is ready for the truth? Or will the truth send him packing? The Back-Up Plan is a hilarious romantic comedy about courtship, love, marriage and parenthood – but not necessarily in that order!
I realized shortly after getting into reviewing movies/DVDs that I dislike the romantic comedy genre for the same reason I dislike the horror genre. At first I thought I just didn’t like horror films, but no…that wasn’t it at all. I just disliked the genre because it was all made up of the same type of films over and over again—little deviation from the norm and anytime a film tried to be different, it ended up returning to the comfortable and well known areas for its final act. The same applies directly to the romantic comedy genre—there’s just no separation between the two films. There’s a “hook,” in the case of The Back-Up Plan it’s that Lopez’s characters artificially inseminated and then meets Mr. Right, and then after that is set up we get the same situation. The awkward dates at first, then the lovey dovey period of understanding, then some small little wrench is thrown into the mix that creates a big misunderstanding that splits our leads up. Of course in the end they get back together and everything is happy and movie goers leave the cinema smiling.
Well the ones who knew exactly what they were getting into were smiling. See, I don’t hate the romantic comedy genre—I’ll soak up a sappy film if it’s got a decent plot and doesn’t squander it by following too many of the staples. I mean obviously you want our leads to end up together in the end, but there’s so many ways to get to that end point and we usually just get the same ones over and over again. With The Back-Up Plan it plays out exactly how I imagined it would, so that left me with staring at the screen for an hour and a half as Lopez and O’Loughlin rumbled their way through their relationship.
Still, I guess for what it is the film executed it all with acceptable flair. If you know what you’re in for and enjoy the genre for all of its clichés and terribly predictable moments then it’s worth a Rental in that case. The director and actors really did their best at carrying the material along, but in the end the hook is spelled out on the cover art and once you know that then you can easily copy and paste it into any other romantic comedy you want.
Sony releases The Break-Up in single disc Elite Blu-ray case without any fancy frills about it. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and…well, that’s it. No digital or PSP copies of the film, just the single Blu-ray disc and that’s it. The AVC encoded presentation accurately portrays the films upbeat and frequently daytime visuals, which means that you get quite a bit of pretty and nicely lit sequences that accurately portray not only the films intention but also what the Blu-ray format was made for. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is pretty quiet in the surrounds, but delivers all of the dialogue out of the front channels with extreme clarity. The only time the LFE or surrounds kick in is for the films soundtrack, which is merely OK as far as these type of films go.
Extras are incredibly brief and include:
Belly Laughs: Making The Back-Up Plan (11:36, 1080p)
Deleted Scenes (5:12, 1080p)
As you can see…not a whole lot there to choose from. Not terribly surprising that we just get a basic EPK fluff piece and some deleted scenes no one cares about, but there you have it. Another romantic comedy you can safely Skip on Blu-ray as it really has nothing to offer you by watching it more than once.
The Back-Up Plan is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.