Maya (Jennifer Lopez) is a forty-year-old assistant manager at a big-box store in Queens (think Walmart). She wants a promotion, been doing her job, and doing it well, for fifteen years. Does she qualify for General Manager? Oh yes! Does she get the promotion? Nope. She didn’t go to college. Barely finished high school. So a Duke grad is the General Manager (really? Duke?), and he’s terrible at his job.
Tired of settling for little, Maya takes a leap of faith and heads for the Upper East Side, where she’s recruited to interview for an executive consultancy position at a major skincare company. But how did they know about her? Why do they hire her? And why do they think she’s a Harvard undergrad who speaks Mandarin? That’s where the fun and heartwarming surprises come in.
I enjoyed this movie. Is it thought provoking? No, but who cares? It’s a feel-good movie, and we need more of that these days. It checks all the boxes for me. J. Lo? Check! Rom-com? Check! Set in New York? Check! Surprisingly touching? Check! Great supporting cast (Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini, Treat Williams)? Check! Movie about skincare? Check! Check! A movie about marketing consultancy? CHECK! (They make marketing consultancy look so easy, but I digress.) It’s also funny. I love it when Maya’s friends try to help her out by passing as Harvard alumni, all the while speaking with their thick Queens accent. And I like how they focus on Maya’s street smarts and how she uses it to get ahead. What does a fancy education and book smarts matter if you have your nose in a book while ignoring in-your-face events? Trust me, I learned that the hard way. Personally? I’d rather hire someone based on merit, not on credentials. Show, don’t tell. That’s my motto. So I loved this movie. Downsides? It’s not realistic, but most of these movies are not. Also? Street smart Maya is carrying her Birkin bag on a subway train. Nuh-uh. Unless she’s going from Fifth Avenue to Central Park West, she wouldn’t risk it. (In the next scene, she’s on Fifth Avenue, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.) I give SECOND ACT four out of five extra-foam cappuccinos.