Having it all

Here’s another side of the empowerment of the autonomous female and the corresponding devaluation and marginalization of the male. In a new movie, The Back-up Plan, a man meets and falls in love with a woman who has just been artificially inseminated. Naturally her appeal is so great, and the love between them so true, that he doesn’t mind that she is pregnant with, and that he will be raising the children of (she’s pregnant with twins), an anonymous sperm donor. In the ads for the movie posted at New York City bus stops (see below), the unshaven, slovenly, weak-looking male lead, Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin, is mooning dotishly at a gloriously full-figured and beautifully attired Jennifer Lopez, who is looking, not at him, but at the camera. Why didn’t they just call the movie Gynocracy? Note how Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Post pans the film, while taking its multi-layered liberal messages completely for granted.


The Back-up Plan
Elizabeth Weitzman
April 23 2010

We all know that sleep deprivation leads to impaired judgment. And as the mother of twin toddlers, Jennifer Lopez probably doesn’t get much rest. So at least she’s got a ready excuse when people wonder why she signed on for a project as charmless and derivative as “The Back-up Plan.”

Lopez plays Zoe, the owner of a successful Manhattan pet store. Comfortably independent, she’s ready to have and raise a child on her own.

In fact, when we first meet her, she’s at her doctor’s office, about to undergo artificial insemination. But—wouldn’t you know it—she and goat farmer Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) meet cute just minutes after the procedure is over.

Within days, they’ve fallen in love and she discovers she’s pregnant. He takes this news surprisingly well, even when it turns out she’s having twins.

So over the next nine months, they (and we) endure every pregnancy cliche imaginable, from morning sickness and sudden cravings to scary mood swings and pre-labor panic.

There’s also a wacky single-mothers group, not to mention wacky best friends (Michaela Watkins, Eric Christian Olsen) and a wacky grandma (Linda Lavin).

Eventually, of course, these thrown-together lovers must be torn apart, so they can reunite for a satisfying conclusion. But how satisfying is it to watch two strangers with no chemistry go through the motions? Really, it’s more like we’re stuck inside the year’s most awkward blind date.

Lopez works visibly hard to keep things light, while O’Loughlin’s flat performance suggests that he’s either deeply uncomfortable or just struggling to hide his Australian accent. The supporting cast of grating sidekicks fares no better with Kate Angelo’s lazy script and Alan Poul’s mechanical direction.

The only person who might appreciate such a shoddy effort is Jennifer Aniston, who has her own artificial insemination comedy, “The Switch,” coming up soon. (Yes, Hollywood has officially run out of ideas.) Presumably, she’s better rested than Lopez, and put a little more thought into her own impending delivery.


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James P. writes:

We should note some other aspects of the story in Back Up Plan. Lopez is a “comfortably independent” career woman who, at a late age, decides she wants children. (Lopez herself is 41, who knows how old the character is, but one assumes the character’s age is similar to her real one.) Did she even think of trying to find a husband before she went to the sperm bank? Apparently not. Yet her character’s careerism and narcissism are perfectly acceptable, even celebrated as a form of harmless fun in this movie, and her character is rewarded with a young and handsome husband despite her bad, selfish choices. Never mind that the hapless fool is now married to a woman who had someone else’s children and is now past the age, and probably the desire, to have his children.

Did this movie deliberately set out to send the worst possible messages in the form of the most idiotic feminist cliches?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 25, 2010 11:36 PM | Send

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