Hot Take: A vehicle for J-Lo to show you how likable she is but the story is too generic and contrived to be anything but just okay. It’s entertaining though. I’ll give it that much.
Fluffy and light, Second Act, the latest film starring Jennifer Lopez is the movie equivalent of comfort food. It’s lots of empty calories that is likely to test pretty good while you’re digesting it but giving any thought to what you just consumed and it’s likely you’ll have longed for something a little more substantial for your palette. It’s one of those movies that you’ll never call film nor be tempted to use the words, “As the plot thickens…” considering how little substance the movie has once you get beyond it’s shiny, upbeat surface. Reading the few sentences previous to this one and you might think I wasn’t a fan of the movie but that’s not true. There’s plenty of movies that aren’t necessarily good movies that are enjoyable and Second Act is exactly one of those.
Starring Jennifer Lopez as Maya, a woman stuck in a low-paying job at a regional supermarket chain who is passed over for a promotion because she lacks a college degree. On her birthday, Maya’s boyfriend (Milo Ventimiglia) who I’m sure has a name but damn if I can remember them ever calling him by one, throws her a surprise party. After the party, Maya’s best friend (Leah Remini) shows her support for Maya by cursing a lot and talking about her son (who is also Maya’s godson). The son overhears Maya’s frustration with her current job situation and decides to invent a new identity for Maya. Freshly armed with a kick ass (and fake) resume and a social media pages depicting Maya as more affluent and educated, Maya lands an interview with a big company. She lands the job as a consultant and, in the process, breaks up with her boyfriend who is ready to have a family.
Rather than spoil the convoluted story, it feels like that’s enough of the tale to help you determine whether or not it’s something you want to see. Actually, are you a Jennifer Lopez fan? That’s enough to decide because it’ll be the only thing that’ll help you look past some of the ridiculous turns this plot takes. There are some halfway decent bit parts in the movie. Charlyne Yi as Ariana, Maya’s executive assistant who is also afraid of heights, a little nerdy and a little kinky (apparently, though it’s a PG-13 movie so little more is revealed than her saying a few jokes about it). And who knew Larry Miller and Dave Foley were still getting work?
In the end, Second Act feels a whole lot like at least one other Jennifer Lopez vehicle of the past. It screams Maid In Manhattan at some points and captures a lot of Lopez’s charm despite the movie’s flimsy premise and flimsier execution. If you’re in the mood for a movie that doesn’t require much brain power (and actually discourages thinking as much as possible for it would ruin the movie, in general) and has a microwave-like quality to it in that it finds it’s way through the content much faster than you’d expect it to, then Second Act is worth checking out.
You’re anti-movies you’re going to forget 2 hours after you say them.