Jennifer Lopez makes a return to comedy in 'The Back-up Plan' as Zoe, a successful business woman-turned Manhattan pet store owner whose biological clock is ticking. Unwilling to settle for just any man, but aware that her window on motherhood is closing, Zoe decides to have a baby on her own through artificial insemination. This planned parenthood, of course, goes off the rails when she ends up meeting the man of her dreams, Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), the day she gets impregnated.

If the premise sounds a little bit sitcommy, perhaps it's due to the movie's pedigree. The film was made by CBS Films, and its screenwriter Kate Angelo and director Alan Poul both come from TV backgrounds. Lopez made an appearance on 'How I Met Your Mother,' O'Loughlin was recently on 'Three Rivers,' and heck, even TV icons Tom Bosley and Linda Lavin show up on screen.

Does this mean that you should go out to the theater to watch it? Most critics are tending more towards (pregnant) pause rather than calling it an outright bundle of joy. Read what they had to say: Jennifer Lopez makes a return to comedy in 'The Back-up Plan' as Zoe, a successful business woman-turned Manhattan pet store owner whose biological clock is ticking. Unwilling to settle for just any man, but aware that her window on motherhood is closing, Zoe decides to have a baby on her own through artificial insemination. This planned parenthood, of course, goes off the rails when she ends up meeting the man of her dreams, Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), the day she gets impregnated.

If the premise sounds a little bit sitcommy, perhaps it's due to the movie's pedigree. The film was made by CBS Films, and its screenwriter Kate Angelo and director Alan Poul both come from TV backgrounds. Lopez made an appearance on 'How I Met Your Mother,' O'Loughlin was recently on 'Three Rivers,' and heck, even TV icons Tom Bosley and Linda Lavin show up on screen.

Does this mean that you should go out to the theater to watch it? Most critics are tending more towards (pregnant) pause rather than calling it an outright bundle of joy. Here's what they had to say:

Roger Ebert: "Jennifer Lopez has never looked better. That's about all she does here, is look better. She is talented and deserves more than this bird-brained plot about characters who have no relationship to life as it is lived by, you know, actual people."

Orlando Sentinel: "Director Alan Poul, a TV vet ('Big Love,' 'Swingtown'), commendably makes the most of what he has to work with. That would be Lopez -- who is gorgeous, a little over-dressed for a Manhattan pet-store owner and properly comically nonplussed -- and some of her supporting players plus the film's occasional can't-miss funny scene. But for all the profanity (quite a bit) and sexual sass, this CBS Films product plays even more like a TV movie than its debut project, 'Extraordinary Measures.' "

The Hollywood Reporter: "A winning performance by Jennifer Lopez overcomes a formulaic and predictable rom-com. ... Lopez carries this thin concept about as far and as well as she can, with Alex O'Loughlin in his first leading-man outing managing not to get lost in the shuffle of birth preparations and doctor appointments."

The Arizona Republic: "'The Back-up Plan' actually operates from an intriguing premise, and occasionally dances around some interesting issues. And it's not as if every funny movie has to offer something in the way of social commentary or greater insight. Sometimes funny is just funny. Sometimes, as is too often the case here, it's not."

'The Back-up Plan' trailer


Associated Press: ""The Back-up Plan" actually could have been helpful in addressing a situation in which so many women find themselves: Wanting to be mothers, but unwilling to compromise to be with the wrong man to accomplish that goal. Instead, it presents the fellow members of Zoe's single-mothers' group as tattooed, fringy freaks hell-bent on home water births and smugly breastfeeding their kids until age 3."

Chicago Tribune: "The characters are meant to be attractive and likable, but they come off like narcissistic divas. ... 'In a year's time this'll just be a funny memory,' one character says of her latest film's on-again/off-again/not-this-again storyline. Well, a memory, anyway."

Entertainment Weekly: "As a romantic comedy, 'The Back-up Plan' is friendly but also a bit drab. Its true subject isn't love so much as the comedy of pregnancy. ... We're supposed to believe that Zoe keeps pushing Stan away because she's scared of depending on any man. But really, with this nice-guy hunk around, cautiously imploring her to let him be the father of her children, does she really want to raise those twins on her own? Too often, 'The Back-up Plan' makes even the prospect of having it all look like something to complain about."

St. Petersburg Times
: "It's barely a movie. More like a sitcom's season arc played out in 105 minutes. Yet this artificially inhabited baby flick kind of works, most of the time. You simply can't resist those cute dimples, cooing sounds and bright eyes following shiny objects. Yep, that Jennifer Lopez is a charmer."

The Austin Chronicle: "Part unfunny sitcom, part post-'Gigli' career resurrection strategy, and all bad, 'The Back-up Plan' is the kind of cookie-cutter, strictly for Lifetime romantic comedy that gives the entire storied romcom genre – from its screwball origins in the 1930s with stone classics such as Howard Hawks' 'Bringing Up Baby' all the way to more angsty contemporary antecedents such as the recent '(500) Days of Summer' – a bad name."

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