The Back-up Plan Review
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According to Anthony Anderson’s character in The Back-up Plan, having children is “awful, awful, awful. Then something great happens. Then it’s awful, awful, awful….” Actually, the movie itself is a bit like that, too—only without the great parts.

Jennifer Lopez stars as Zoe, a happily single pet store owner who decides to head to the local sperm bank to find herself a baby-daddy. And everything’s going according to plan—until she meets Stan (Alex O’Laughlin).

Zoe has no interest in starting a relationship, but, for some reason, Stan is determined to get her attention, so he stalks her until she agrees to go out with him. Then, just after their first date—just when she’s starting to fall for Stan—Zoe learns that she is, in fact, pregnant. Zoe’s worried that the news will scare Stan away, but once those wacky pregnant-woman traits (you know: the hormones, the hunger, the nausea…) start to rear their crazy head, there’s just no hiding it.

Stan’s never really thought about having kids (and he finds the idea terrifying), but he’s determined to stick with newly-pregnant Zoe—despite the fact that he’s only known her for a few weeks. But little does he know that the hormones and cravings are just the beginning of the challenges he’ll face.

It’s all too fitting that Stan is a cheese farmer—because this awkward chick flick produces a bumper crop. From the corny opening inner monologue, as Zoe is inseminated, to the last gratuitous shot of her cart-bound pooch, Nuts, The Back-up Plan is just one ridiculous disaster after another.

The writing is sloppy and completely unnatural, often blowing minor relational blips into major conflicts. The characters, meanwhile, are painfully annoying—like Zoe’s best friend, Mona (Michaela Watkins), who can’t stop talking about how much she hates her own four kids, and every last member of Zoe’s single moms group.

Zoe is neurotic and suspicious, always assuming that Stan is cheating on her…or lying to her…or preparing to dump her. To make matters worse, she’s also the embodiment of every exaggerated pregnancy cliché out there. And Stan is just as much of a mess, constantly panicking about nursery school tuition while feeling threatened by the big, comfy pillow that helps Zoe sleep—even though it’s his own fault for choosing to stick with the pregnant woman he just met. Maybe these two irritating characters deserve each other, but that won’t make you care one little bit about whether or not they can make it work.

As the minutes tick on, The Back-up Plan gets even more predictable, more ridiculous, and more difficult to endure. And then, just when it gets so bad that you find yourself wishing for an epidural to numb the pain, you’ll get another gratuitous shot of Zoe’s little handicapped dog—and, apparently, that’s supposed to make it all better. Granted, the dog is pretty cute—but when a crippled dog in a cart is the best thing about your romantic comedy, it’s probably best just to scrap the whole project and try something else.

The Back-up Plan is easily the most idiotic chick flick—or any kind of film, for that matter—that I’ve seen all year (and I’ve seen some doozies!). So if you were planning to see it, I strongly recommend going with your back-up plan, instead.

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