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BACK-UP PLAN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
After years of dating and never finding Mr Right, Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) has decided to go it alone to become a mother. Just after leaving the artificial insemination clinic, Zoe meets Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) and although the timing could not be worse, they start getting to know each other. This proves awkward however, as Stan does not know Zoe's pregnancy plan and Zoe has already enrolled in a Support Group for single mothers. All kinds of complications arise as Zoe and Stan try to make a go of their relationship and prepare for the inevitable and huge changes that parenthood brings.

Review by Louise Keller:
She expected to be married with children but Mr Right does not come along, so Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) resorts to her Back-Up Plan, which means taking on motherhood alone. This engaging, funny rom com could well be the perfect chick-flick, as it takes a hilarious look at relationships, romance, pregnancy and parenthood. There's a twist too, as events all seem to happen the wrong way around - like falling pregnant just before you meet the man of your dreams.

Of course, this is from Hollywood's perspective and the characters and situations are glossy, exaggerated and predictable. But it works because the issues are all based in truth, and while we laugh at some of the crazy situations, we nod knowingly in recognition. It's a great platform for JLo (seemingly tailor-made after her real-life initiation into parenthood in 2008) and she is terrific. She looks great, her comedic timing is spot on and she has a nice chemistry with Aussie hunk Alex O'Loughlin (Oyster Farmer), who not only looks good (shirt on and off) but is an ideal match for his multi-talented co-star.

When Lopez' pet-shop owner Zoe meets O'Loughlin's Stan, who runs a cheese stall at the Farmers' market, there are no hearts and flowers. Quite the contrary. They have an altercation in the rain because they both want to hire the same cab. Fate throws them together and we delight in the hiccups as their relationship is established. There's a candle-lit romantic dinner that becomes a playful war, a weekend at the farm that ends in disaster and awkward scenes in the gynaecologist's surgery. A cute little dependent dog named Nuts also plays a key role.

Impending parenthood looks terrifying (or hilarious), depending on your point of view and there are some priceless moments including a screechingly funny bath birth scene at the Single Mothers' Support Group, resembling something out of the Exorcist. Emmy-winning director Alan Poul keeps the action moving and the mood upbeat as cleavages blossom, dresses seem to shrink and insecurities grow. Ideal for a girls' night out, this enjoyable frolic is upbeat and funny with an edgy undertone that gives it ballast.
First published in the Sun Herald

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BACK-UP PLAN, THE (M)
(US, 2010)

CAST: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Daneel Harris, Eric Christan Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Noureen DeWulf, Melissa McCarthy

PRODUCER: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch

DIRECTOR: Alan Poul

SCRIPT: Kate Angelo

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Xavier Perez Grobet

EDITOR: Priscille Nedd-Friendly

MUSIC: Stephen Trask

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alec Hammond

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 20, 2010







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