Once watched, it’s hard to give this movie a second chance. Everybody loves a feel-good story. Especially around this time of the year, the Americans love to heap on the fuzzy feelings. So it’s no surprise that Second Act aims to tug at your heartstrings by showing that it’s never too late to live a dream - even if it’s not yours.
Jennifer Lopez - who is also, alongside her longtime manager, Benny Medina, a producer of this movie - plays a woman named Maya. She is in her 40s and hopeful that she will stop packing items at the store she’s worked at for many years and actually land the manager position.
But because she doesn’t have any tertiary education, she keeps getting passed over for the position.
She’s also stuck in a weird relationship with Trey (played by Milo Ventimiglia), a coach who wants nothing more than to have a child with Maya. It’s weird because they have all the tell-tale signs of being happily in love but it’s not believable.
There are “cute” pictures on the kitchen cupboards. They kiss all the time and every time Maya sees Trey, she creepily mentions his bum. But there is no spark between them. Their chemistry is about as lit as load shedding. And J.Lo is a better actress than she is a singer so the acting can’t solely be blamed on her.
Plus, her interactions with Leah Remini save the film. Remini plays Maya’s foul-mouthed, hilarious BFF and colleague, Joan. It’s Joan’s son, a tech whizzkid, who spruces up Maya’s CV and applies for jobs on her behalf - without his mom or godmother’s knowledge.
This is how Maya finds herself as an executive at a cosmetic company. She has to keep up the lie that she knows what she’s doing - and truthfully, her experience indicates that she does, even though her formal education says otherwise - but as all feel-good flicks go, things are not that simple. You can guess how this story ends.
But that’s not even the eyeroll-worthy part. The subtle implications that something must be wrong with Maya for not wanting kids is alarming. The lack of chemistry between Jenny from Block and Milo from wherever he’s from is boring.
And J.Lo looks about ten years older than Vanessa Hudgens - her arch nemesis turned confidant in the cosmetic company - but we’re meant to believe she’s old enough to be Hudgens’ mother. Pah!
This movie is good for Christmas afternoon when you’re home for the holidays and your mom is done ordering you around and you’re not paying much attention to the screen because you’re biding your time before you go in for seconds.
But until it is available in DVD, it won’t be getting a second chance from me.