“The Back-Up Plan” is a stupid, unfunny, gross and annoying film. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. This film was downright painful for me to watch not only due to it’s spectacularly unfunny script and lackadaisical acting, but also because I know that somewhere out there in the world, some people think it’s “cute” or “funny.” It’s not. It makes no sense, has no basis in real human interaction and the two leads have zero chemistry together. In short, “The Back-Up Plan” sucks. With all that being said from the get-go, just know now you should not see this movie.
Jennifer Lopez plays Zoë, a thirty-something woman who has the worst case of baby fever anyone has ever seen. She owns a pet store (and an inexplicably handicapped dog that has no back legs and walks itself around by using a wheelbarrow contraption) and in her free time b*****s and complains to whoever will listen that she wants a kid SO BAD but can’t find the right guy. Enter Stan (O’Loughlin), a goat cheese maker and farmer who also lives in New York City. The two meet and oh-gosh-oh-golly, they do not hit it off at all. But soon they find an odd attraction, have a few dates and after about 2 weeks of being together, decide they’re destined to be together forever. But oopsy, Zoë got herself artificially inseminated on the same day she met Stan so now she’s pregnant with a kid that isn’t his. Oh noes!
As if that all wasn’t eye rolling enough, this film features all sorts of parents who pretty much hate their kids. After we hear how awful these kids are and how they’ve ruined their parents’ lives, I guess we’re supposed to laugh at how screwed Zoë and Stan are about to become. And this is supposed to be funny? Again, not funny at all. The couples in this film are even worse as it’s hard to tell what makes them more miserable, their kids or their significant other. Plus Linda Lavin and Tom Bosley (yes, the titular character from 70’s television show “Alice” and Mr. Cunningham from “Happy Days”) play Zoë’s grandparents and it’s downright freaky. I honestly didn’t realize they were both still living and sadly, Bosley now looks like a really skinny person in a Mr. Cunningham Halloween mask.
And as was mentioned, the film is gross. There’s about 4-5 pee and poo jokes and then later, when J-Lo digs into a huge pot of beef stew we’re all expecting the worst (ie; that’s not stew!) but this just speaks to the overall failure in tone the film has. Is it a rom-com or some kind of half-baked meditation on parenting? Is it supposed to be gross for husbands who got dragged in but sweet for the wives that dragged them? I have no clue, all I know is that the film was not enjoyable.
I’m sure this was a cheaply made film aimed at 40-something parents, and hey, that’s cool. I nearly resemble that remark and my wife was the target for “The Back-Up Plan” so it’s not like I’m some single dude living in my mom’s basement who’s secretly jealous of the love Zoë and Stan have found. Plus, not everyone has all day to sit around thinking about film as art or who shot first between Han and Greedo or why Uwe Boll is still allowed to make films. I get that this is just supposed to be a silly little movie. But the thing is, when you make something half-assed and cheap but still want it to be silly, there’s a line you can’t cross and that line straddles silly/fun and contrived/stupid. “The Back-Up Plan” tumbles headlong into the latter category.