This weekend's openings had to rank as a new low on the year. April has always been somewhat of a dumping ground the closer we get to the summer movie season (last year's releases on this weekend including Obsessed, Fighting and The Soloist) but, wow, did moviegoers have their options limited. Not only did they spell out what you might be thinking in seeing them, but their titles also represented the label stamped upon the marketing campaigns. I'm not saying that the "critics" they chose are part of an actual Back-Up Plan or were, by definition, The Losers, except I kinda am.

The first round of encouragement on Jennifer Lopez's new romantic baby comedy that I saw began way back on April 12 on a commercial. Always beware quotes of this nature when the film has not been screened yet for press in major cities outside of the junket circuit. Double that beware when even your humble quote collector has never heard of any of the names attached to them.


"The first great romantic comedy of 2010. Jennifer Lopez is pure perfection." - Joel Amos, SheKnows.com
"Laugh-out-loud funny!" - Sheila Roberts, Moviesonline.ca
"So funny it hurts." - Elizabeth Snead, Zap2it.com
"Prepare to go on a wild romantic ride." - Kylie Erica Mar, Made In Hollywood

Did you get stuck on SheKnows.com? Get a lot of your movie reviews from there, do ya? I decided to check the place out and found a pretty extensive site for the ladies covering everything from shopping to parenting to handling your reptile. No euphemism there. It's in the pets section. Surprisingly, the first thing on the toolbar is their entertainment section so I wanted to check out Mr. Amos' review. Guess what? No review. Just a pair of interviews for Lopez and co-star Alex O'Loughlin. Nowhere in her Q&A is the word "perfection" used and precisely where did he call it "the first great romantic comedy of 2010?" Whatever the answer might be, it certainly wasn't in a review. Such a proclamation is also of the faint praise variety when this year's flock of traditional romantic comedies consists of Leap Year, When In Rome, Valentine's Day, She's Out Of My League and The Bounty Hunter, a film which Amos does review with a lead-in that Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston "could read the phone book together, and it would pop on the silver screen."

Notice how often Amos refers to his pieces as "exclusives," since nowhere else online, on TV or in print can you see coverage of The Young Victoria or bland interviews with guys from canceled CBS dramas. On the latter, Kyle Erica Mar's three-minute on-camera segment with J.Lo begins with the question, "what is Zoe's back-up plan?" Props to Miss Lopez for responding with the puzzled, "did you see the movie?" Doubtful, since most sane moviegoers would call it anything but "a wild romantic ride." Unless you are Miss Mar who does refer to it as "a wild ride" during the interview. Elizabeth Snead is a gossip columnist, not a critic. She does write a lot of that gossip stuff, but nowhere in her Dish Rag banner are the words "reviews" or "so funny it hurts." Sheila Roberts, on the other hand, was a name that looked somewhat familiar. Who was this woman saying that The Back-Up Plan was "laugh-out-loud funny" when the only laugh heard at the Chicago screening was when O'Loughlin's character apologized for his big secret of going to night school? Oh right, she was on the ads for 2008's Superhero Movie, a film that wasn't screened for critics. What did she call that film again? Oh yeah, "Laugh-out-loud funny."

But wait, there's more.

Our old buddy Shawn Edwards ended up in the newer ads. Apparently this was CBS Films' idea of upgrading their critical standards. He told us that "Jennifer is back and better than ever!" Really, Shawn? Better than Out Of Sight or those days over a decade ago before we would rather see Mitch Connor starring in Angel Eyes? Then we have Jami Philbrick of Movieweb.com calling it "the perfect date movie." Don't look at me. Just because I believe The Back-Up Plan to be one of the very worst films of the year doesn't mean I'm the only one who might take issue with the person who also hyped Clash of the Titans, Armored, The Spy Next Door, Legion and Transylmania.

"The perfect date movie." (Valentine's Day) - Brandi Williams, TV Guide Network
"The perfect date movie." (Valentine's Day) - Toni Gonzalez, NBC-TV
"The perfect date movie (Twilight) - Kevin Steincross
"The perfect date movie!" (Sweet Home Alabama) - Paul Starke, Pure Oxygen
"The perfect date movie." (Fever Pitch) - Earl Dittman
"The perfect date movie! (Something New) - In Touch Weekly
"The perfect date movie." (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) - Jeffrey K. Howard, The Movie GuysABC-TV
"The perfect date movie." (No Reservations) - Bonnie Laufer
"A perfect date movie!" (The Hot Chick) - John Black, Boston Metro
"The perfect date movie." (Trust the Man) - Mark S. Allen
"The perfect date movie!" (Maid in Manhattan) - Mark S. Allen
"...the perfect summer date movie." (Alex and Emma) - Mark S. Allen
"The perfect date movie for the holidays." (P.S. I Love You) - Jim Ferguson
"If you're looking for a great date movie so you can get laid over the holidays, this is the one." (P.S. I Love You) - Pete Hammond

Hammond's words were not used in the ads, but that was his Rotten Tomatoes quote. 63-of-82 critics there panned The Back-Up Plan for a 23% rating which actually makes it the second best reviewed "romantic comedy" out of that previous list of five, trailing only She's Out Of My League's hefty 54% approval. I currently have it ranked as the second worst film of the year, so take my thoughts with as many grains of snark as you wish. But if that is representative of the perfect date movie, I can sense many guys embracing their single status as we speak. Just gives them more time to go see The Losers.

"Explosive" - Rick Florino
"Action-packed." - Maria Salas
"Hilarious." - Heather Newgen, Comingsoon.net
"Extremely funny." - Steven Weintraub. Collider.com
"A hot, sexy, exciting ride." - Sandra Varner, Celebrity Profiles
"Smokin' hot. Ultra sexy. A winner." - Shawn Edwards

On second thought, after those recommendations, no thanks. We can all just wait for The A-Team. In theaters and actual critics.