I have to start out by saying that generally, I am not a person who watches romantic comedies. However, now that I'm purposely taking on movies made by the stars of 'Hawaii Five-0' so I can review them for "Hawaii Five-0 Online," I've begun watching lots of movies I may have steered clear of six months ago.
Having said that, I'm seriously beginning to wonder if there are other gems I've been missing considering I avoid certain genres like the plague. I've seen The Back-up Plan twice now, and as a whole, the movie is hysterically funny and heartfelt, with endearing performances by Alex O'Loughlin (Stan) and Jennifer Lopez (Zoe). And you've just got to love Zoe's dog.
After having watched Mr. O'Loughlin for an entire season of a show where he plays nothing short of a bad-ass guy, albeit with a warmth that bleeds through in even his most butt-kicking moments, it was refreshing to see him in a looser comedic role. The chemistry between him and Ms. Lopez is palpable, and his smiles light up the screen right next to hers.
The story itself, and indeed the movie, were absolute perfection...until it hit a certain point, when it kind of fell apart for me. Now, because this isn't your standard movie review - but instead is my gut reaction to the movie itself - the following is a bit unusual for me. But to say I was disappointed at what had so much potential as a pivotal scene later on in the movie is an understatement. I'm going to warn you, the following contains **SPOILERS** so if you don't want to know about the major conflict from the third act of the movie, don't read the next two paragraphs, which are surrounded by **!
**Right after the giving-birth scene in which Zoe faceplants into the small pool and Stan is so completely shell-shocked he can barely form a coherent sentence, is the scene that did it in for me. What happened was that in a movie that was so cleverly crafted up to that point, we were suddenly thrown one of those embarrassing sitcom misunderstanding moments that not only threw me completely out of a movie I had spent the better part of the evening growing to love, but seemed so awfully contrived and out-of-place that it actually made my gut twist.**
**I'm talking about the moment when Zoe decides that because Stan told "Muffin Girl" that the babies weren't his, it means he doesn't want to be with her or them, and will leave her at some point using that as his excuse. I have to wonder why the director went with that, because as a writer, I can think of at least half a dozen ways the same scene could have gone without Zoe blowing something out of proportion the way you might find a sitcom character doing. In a sitcom, it's fast and funny and (in many cases) deliberately obtuse. In a movie that to this point was such a high-caliber piece of work, it pulled the rug out from under me and made it difficult for me to continue watching...both times.**
Okay, enough spoilers! Once I forced myself past the point mentioned in the paragraphs above, I managed to enjoy the rest of the movie, for the most part...except the parts which referenced the above incident. Linda Lavin was glorious as Zoe's grandmother, and we even got Tom Bosley thrown in for good measure! They were absolutely adorable as a couple.
I would have given this movie hands-down rave reviews up one side and down the other with the full amount of stars I could give if it hadn't been for my point mentioned above. But still and all? You definitely should see this movie. Lopez and O'Loughlin are brilliant together. They are both incredible actors with lots of talent and a gift for making you love their characters.
And for those of you who are die-hard 'Five-0' fans, there's nothing better than seeing the man you watch on TV every week doing something different. O'Loughlin fans the world `round, who've followed him for his entire career, will tell you, "Eh, we always knew he was that talented." For those of you who don't yet know, buy this movie and find out for yourselves.