The Back-up Plan (review)

She’s 40 years old going on 8, a womanchild who has desperately wanted a baby for years, goes through the enormous expense and preparation of having herself inseminated with donated sperm, and yet knows absolutely nothing about childbirth. He’s a preposterously perfect man — a gorgeous, buff, smart, sensitive successful entrepreneur whose “fatal flaw” is his lack of a college degree… oh, and just happening to enter her life literally moments after her insemination. Together, they are the least suspenseful rom-com couple in ages, perhaps ever: of course they’re going to end up together, but The Back-up Plan barely offers them any roadbumps along the way. It isn’t even particularly pleasant watching the undeniably physically attractive and (usually) charismatic Jennifer Lopez (An Unfinished Life) and Alex O’Loughlin (Whiteout) as these two ridiculous people. Allegedly making up for the utter lack of any dramatic tension is some slapstick featuring 1) a cute little dog in a canine wheelchair, 2) a nasty best friend for Lopez, a bitter mother (Michaela Watkins) who resents her own children, and 3) a support group for single moms who bizarrely agree to keep Lopez on as a member after she hooks up with O’Loughlin. This last is vital to what the film appears to believe is its mission: to poke fun at any attempt at motherhood that doesn’t look like something so conventional and white-bread that Pat Robertson would approve of it. It’s the perfect film for the nation of children we have become, in which supposed grownups are expected to laugh at jokes about dogs eating pregnancy tests and be grossed out by a little baby spitup.

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