Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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Second Act is an attempt at reworking one of life’s most classic tales. Coming from nothing and making something of yourself. It borrows and uses the tropes from so many other films to craft a film that is not going to pave any new paths in the film market, but also not going to be off putting to fans of the rom-com genre. I was initially going to write Second Off completely as another low budget rom com with the same tired old tropes, but I decided to pay a bit better attention due to the fact that it was directed by veteran rom-com director, Peter Segal (50 First Dates, Tommy Boy, The Longest Yard), and I”ve long since been a fan of his sort of comedy. The film is a bit hackneyed at points, and definitely uses traditional comedy tropes, but there’s a mid life crisis twist in the second half of the movie that rises above some of the more “blah” moments from the script and takes it to a higher plain that it should really be at as a result. It’s cute, fluffy, sweet, kind, and decidedly puff pastry entertainment at the end of the day.
Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) is a successful self made woman who has unfortunately hit a glass ceiling in her career. Even though she has a great boyfriend Trey (Milo), a solid job as an assistant manager at a local big box store named Value Shop (the classic movie Walmart clone) and plenty of friends, there’s this wall that she can’t climb over into getting a manager’s position. It’s not due to her age, or her sex, but rather her limited education. Even though she’s basically doing the work of a manager, and came up with a BRILLIANT idea for the company, shes stuck where she’s at simply due to minimum education requirements. Thinking that she’s completely helpless, Maya gets a second chance when her best friend Joan’s (Leah Remini, who looks almost unrecognizable from her King of Queens days) son sends in an application for her to Franklin and Clark, the largest cosmetics manufacturer in New York.
Second Act does NOT blaze any trails. It is is simply feel good rom-com material that works within the traditional boundaries of the genre. It’s cute, funny, very predictable, and a veritable fantasy about life. I mean, we all know the fantasy of the genre, and Second Act follows that pattern to a key. Maya wants to better herself but can’t for some reason. She has to lie in order to become someone she’s not, everything falls apart near the end, but she’s more than capable enough to draw herself up from the ashes of defeat and rebuild her life. Happily ever after, the end. As I said, nothing new to the plot at all. However, there is a neat second act twist dealing with Maya finding her long lost daughter that elevates the plot a bit. This twist adds a heavier layer to the traditional fantasy and makes her decision to lie all the more relatable to the audience, even though they know she HAS to fall on her sword as per traditional movie rules. It’s not that we’re agreeing with her decision, but it gains a sort of empathy to Maya’s dilemma, as many parents would want to hang onto a long lost child as much as humanely possible, even if that meant bending their own morals at times.
Rated PG-13 for some crude sexual references, and language
• The Empowering Women of Second Act – Get an inside look at how the women of Second Act empowered and supported each other.
• Friendship On and Off Screen – See how real life best friends Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini had fun on set and how their real chemistry played on screen.
• Working with the Ones You Love – Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the whole cast had fun while filming Second Act.
Second Act is cotton candy film making at it’s best. It’s simple, predictable, enjoyable on a surface level, and competent enough with the writing and direction. There’s a few hackneyed moments with the predictability (the worst part of the watching experience is being able to literally map out every beat of the film ahead of time), but it’s a fun little fantasy that’s pretty much harmless junk food cinema. J-Lo is as adorably cute as ever (does the woman ever age?), and the direction by Peter Segal light and airy. The Blu-ray itself is given very nice audio/video specs, but is sadly lacking in the extras department. As such, I give the film a single thumbs up as a fun one time watch for those who like empowering rom-coms.
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini, Treat Williams, Milo Ventimiglia, Freddie Stroma, Annaleigh Ashford, Charlyne Yi, Alan Aisenberg
Directed by: Peter Segal
Written by: Justin Zackham, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DVS
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Runtime: 104 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 26th, 2019
Recommendation: Decent Watch