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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Alan Poul
Cast:
Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Michaela Watkins, Eric Christian Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Noureen DeWulf, Melissa McCarthy
Writing Credits:
Kate Angelo

Tagline:
Fall in love. Get married. Have a baby. Not necessarily in that order.

Synopsis:
Jennifer Lopez stars as Zoe, a single New Yorker who dreams about meeting Mr. Right, having a baby and living happily ever after. But after a string of Mr. Wrongs, Zoe commits to her back-up plan: to take on motherhood alone. Zoe's plan proves far from foolproof when moments after her procedure she's swept up into a whirlwind romance with Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), the man of her dreams. Can Zoe hide her pregnancy until Stan is ready for the truth? Or will the truth send him packing? The Back-Up Plan is a hilarious romantic comedy about courtship, love, marriage and parenthood - but not necessarily in that order!

Box Office:
Budget
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$12.201 million on 3280 screens.
Domestic Gross
$37.481 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $34.95
Release Date: 8/24/2010

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes
• “Belly Laughs: Making The Back-up Plan” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Back-Up Plan [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 13, 2010)

Jennifer Lopez spent much of the last few years away from showbiz as she concentrated on her newly arrived children. To mark her return to the big-screen, 2010’s The Back-up Plan casts her as a woman desperate to have kids.

Seems like an odd choice for someone who just had her own babies, and apparently audiences agreed, as Plan stalled after a mere $37 million take in the US. Or maybe viewers simply weren’t anxious to see Lopez star in yet another formulaic romantic comedy.

Zoe (Lopez) always figured she’d meet the right guy, settle down, and pump out a few kids. However, life in the Big Apple doesn’t always pan out as you’d like, so after plenty of romantic missteps, Zoe decides to become more proactive. She undergoes artificial insemination so she can finally start her family life.

The timing becomes problematic when she encounters Stan (Alex O’Loughlin). The two spar over a cab but after their “meet cute”, they start a relationship. This occurs despite her reluctance to date given her pregnancy – about which Alex knows nothing. Zoe needs to deal with her imminent motherhood while she also tries to keep “Mr. Right”.

For much of her career, Lopez has seemed like a talented performer in search of quality material. Of all the Lopez flicks I’ve seen, I can only name one that’s an actual Really, Really Good Movie: 1998’s Out of Sight. The others range from mediocre to downright bad.

On the positive side, Lopez often manages to elevate the material somewhat, as her talents add to her flicks. For instance, Lopez brought real charm to Maid in Manhattan that the stale, stupid script didn’t deserve.

No such miracle occurs during the utterly lifeless Plan, as Lopez’s talents can’t deliver any pleasures here. Not that she gets any support from the anonymous O’Loughlin. He looks good in the part but shows zero personality and doesn’t connect with Lopez in the least. The two actors display a total lack of charm together, so their sequences – which fill much of the film – tend to really drag.

It probably doesn’t help that Plan takes a long way to get close to its destination. The sequence in which Zoe and Stan develop their relationship seems to take much more time than necessary; the film could’ve cut those scenes in half and not sacrifice any development, mostly because the characters remain thin and ill-defined even with all the extra footage.

At least less pre-pregnancy dating would give the flick a bit more momentum, while the final product follows a laggard pace. By the time Zoe reveals her condition and her relationship with Stan changes, we just don’t care.

Not that I’m sure we ever felt any interest in the first place. Even when it attempts to deliver substance, Plan feels like filler. Most movies give us meat with a little padding, but this one comes across as nothing more than padding. It provides moments that should impact upon us, but they don’t.

I think I should develop a Sigh Index for my reviews. That would chart the number of times I sigh during film, whether due to boredom, disgust or a combination of the two. Plan wouldn’t max out the Sigh Index, but it’d push pretty close to the max, as this tedious, enervating flick lacks even the most modest pleasures.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

The Back-up Plan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with the expected usually fine transfer.

Only a smidgen of softness ever interfered with the presentation. I noticed a few slightly ill-defined shots, but most of the movie displayed solid clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

In terms of palette, Plan went with natural tones affected by a bit of a teal impression. That’s typical for many modern Hollywood flicks, but the bluish tinge didn’t distract or become overwhelming. Overall, the hues were fine and full. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. Though I thought the image was a little below “A”-level standards, it still was more than satisfying.

Don’t expect much more than a standard romantic comedy mix from the disc’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though a few minor exceptions occurred. A thunderstorm demonstrated nice breadth, while street scenes also gave us decent sense of place. Otherwise, the audio tended to be pretty restrained, so we didn’t get a lot of involvement and activity. This was fine for a movie of this sort, however, so the low-key soundfield wasn’t a detriment.

Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.

Only a handful of extras pop up here. A featurette called Belly Laughs: Making The Back-up Plan goes for 11 minutes, 36 seconds and provides remarks from director Alan Poul, screenwriter Kate Angelo, animal trainer April Mackin, and actors Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Eric Christian Olsen, Noureen DeWulf, Anthony Anderson, Michaela Watkins, Robert Klein, Linda Lavin and Tom Bosley. We learn about aspects of the movie’s development, cast, characters and performances, animals on the set, and the atmosphere during the shoot.

This means many comments about a) how much fun it was to make the movie, and b) how beautiful Lopez is. Any actual filmmaking information becomes incidental during this superficial puff piece.

Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 12 seconds. These include “Zoe Picks a Sperm Donor” (0:33), “Zoe at the Elevator” (0:39), “Stan Shows Up at Hudson Mutts” (1:57), and “Stan Tries to Get Zoe Back” (2:03). Two of these - “Donor” and “Mutts” – allow more time for Zoe’s friends to develop, while “Elevator” shows Zoe’s moony post-insemination state. “Back” depicts exactly what its title states and comes toward the end of the movie. “Donor” should’ve stayed since it lets a scene in the final cut make more sense, and I liked “Mutts” just because we got to see more of sexy Noureen DeWulf. Nothing crucial appears, though.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for The Bounty Hunter, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, The Runaways and Nine. These also appear under Previews along with promos for Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), The Young Victoria, To Save a Life and Charlie’s Angels. No trailer for Plan shows up here.

Maybe Jennifer Lopez can re-establish herself as a big-time Hollywood actress, but if she continues with more “Z”-grade rom-coms like The Back-up Plan, her career will remain stuck in neutral. Completely devoid of charm, personality or entertainment, the film drags from one tedious scene to another and provokes little more than boredom. The Blu-ray provides very good picture, positive audio and a minor set of supplements. Even the most diehard J-Lo fan should leave this stinker on the shelf.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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