Second Act

ROMANTIC COMEDY; 1hr 43min

STARRING: Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Hudgens, Milo Ventimiglia, Leah Remini

Chick lite: Remini (left) and Lopez


As J.Lo’s latest movie love-interest (Gilmore Girls’ Ventimiglia as Trey) so rightly observes in a smitten birthday toast, “It ain’t over until it’s over,” and it certainly ain’t over for the multi-hyphenate Maid in Manhattan star. As Maya, a 40-year-old assistant manager in a Kmart-style supermarket, Lopez is as warm and grounded as any certified bombshell could realistically be expected to be, even at Maya’s lowest ebb.

 

Passed over for the top job after 15 years on account of her lack of academic credentials, Maya is understandably ropable, but scores the last laugh quick-smart when she lands a product-development consultant’s gig with a Madison Avenue skincare and grooming company. How on earth? you may well ask. In part with a bogus Facebook page (Harvard, Peace Corps, fluent in Mandarin…), cooked up behind her back by her BFF’s enterprising teenage son (Dalton Harrod; real-life Lopez buddy Remini is his supportive mother).

 

In any case, Maya is playing in the big leagues; immediately charged with the creation of a 100 per cent organic skincare line. This fazes her less than you might imagine, ditto her newly single status, executive apartment and styled-up outfits. And if all that’s a tad hard to swallow (gulp), hold on tight for the backstory between her and the company’s VP (Hudgens).

Even in the warmest and fuzziest romcoms, there’s a quantum shark-jump between far-fetched and far too much. Second Act’s grip on reality is next to non-existent, but in fairness, that’s both beside and precisely its point. This is a Cinderella story from Get Smart director Peter Segal, a tinselly bauble for the festive season, or any time you’re up for an airy-fairy flight of fancy. Its core value of self-belief is solid enough, for those desperately seeking deeper meaning. But honestly, is that really why we’re all here?