Close

The Back-Up Plan: May Cause Morning Sickness

By Megan Lane · April 24, 2010

It sounds like a great pitch:  “A bright, successful woman has it all; except the baby she’s always wanted.  After giving up on men, she decides to start a family on her own, but on the way home from being artificially inseminated, a woman meets the man of her dreams.”  And then you stop and think about it for a moment.  Wait, why would this independent woman change her entire life plan for a man she just met?  And why would this sexy, romantic guy want to put his entire life on hold to raise a baby that isn’t even his with a woman he barely knows?  And why would a beautiful Latina woman choose a sperm donor with red hair and freckles?  These extreme logic problems are never solved throughout the duration of this film.  
 
The acting certainly contributes to rather than solves these logic questions.  Jennifer Lopez and Alex O’Loughlin have zero chemistry, forcing the audience to constantly wonder why they are together at all. At one point in the movie, Stan (O’Loughlin) asks Zoe (Lopez) if she “is still in there”, meaning the woman he knew before the pregnancy.  Yet he never knew her before the pregnancy.  He has no idea if this severe state of crazy is actually his girlfriend or just the pregnant version of her.  Most husbands probably want to leave their super-hormonal wives during those nine months, what is so special about JLo that makes him stay? Even her booty has lost its shape!
 
Putting aside their lack of chemistry, Stan and Zoe’s relationship moves at light speed. For their first date, Stan holds himself back and plans an elaborately unrealistic dinner with hundreds of candles in a community garden (if you listen closely, you can almost hear the groans of men around the world).  However, the couple quickly jumps to spending the entire weekend at Stan’s cheese farm for their second date.  As someone who’s been on many second dates and not that many thirds, I can tell you right now that by 11:00am on Saturday morning, you might be pretty sorry that you have another thirty-six hours left on your date.  The next thing we know, Stan and Zoe are living together, and he’s buying her a custom stroller.  Whatever happened to dating?
 
Overall, the structure felt like a series of skits about the troubles women go through while being pregnant.  Oh no, she’s incredibly horny.  Gee whiz, she has morning sickness!  Jeepers creepers, she has uncontrollable food cravings that she can’t control!  None of these scenes were tied together, and for a movie that felt much longer than 100 minutes, the director was still rushing to fit in every possible pregnancy cliché.  
 
The one redeeming part of the movie was the “Single Mothers and Proud” group that Zoe joins shortly after getting inseminated.  This group made up of flower children and militant lesbians headed up by Melissa McCarthy is stereotypical, but adds a small amount of humor to an otherwise laughless comedy.
 
Not only is this movie a poor excuse for a comedy, it is simply an example of lazy filmmaking most easily exemplified through the unwillingness of the filmmakers to acknowledge the fact that Jennifer Lopez is Puerto Rican.  The movie opens with an animated title sequence of a woman walking around and seeing babies everywhere.  This woman is dressed in Lopez’s clothes with long brown hair, but, wait, she’s white.  And her grandmother (Linda Lavin) is white.  Have we forgotten that Jenny is from the block?
 
The Back-Up Plan made a poor attempt at becoming the next Knocked Up, and failed miserably.  The unrealistic plot (because really, what man would stick around unless he had a chance of scoring with Katherine Heigl again), uninspiring acting and lack of comedy leave it a distant second in “romantic comedies about pregnant women on the dating scene” category.  In the end, if you plan to see The Back-Up Plan, have a back-up plan.
 
Score:  9%