‘If you look at romantic comedies as pieces of commerce, the audience is looking for wish fulfilment.’
There is a whole sub-genre in the film industry that could be labelled ‘the diamond in the rough.’ Not to be confused with Disney’s Aladdin, but this is that familiar storyline of the under-appreciated employee who gets a unique break that gives them access to the upper tier of business. Second Act provides Jennifer Lopez with another turn as the under-appreciated employee who is passed over for a promotion, but then with the help of a few finely tapped out keystrokes she finds herself in an interview with one of Madison Avenue’s elite firms.
Lopez plays Maya, an assistant manager of a local big box retailer Value City in the boroughs of New York City who has been the catalyst behind the store’s growth. On the day of her tour with the company’s CEO, she discovers that the store manager position has been given to someone else who has less experience, but more educational credentials. Even though she attempts to work with her new boss, his incompetence pushes her to the limit of her patience and her best friend and co-worker tries to cheer her up on her birthday.
Joan (Leah Remini) attempts to motivate Maya by enlisting the talents of her tech-savvy son to create a new online profile for the frustrated retailer. He manages to give her top credentials from Harvard and the Peace Crop, which leads to a call from one of the leading firms on Madison Avenue, Franklin & Clark. After faking her way through the interview, the newest executive finds herself catapulted into the dog-eat-dog world of product development and marketing. As she works her way to win the hearts and respect of her new superiors, Maya must determine if she is going to be able to live up to the multitude of lies that put her into this position or if she will be able to confess. As she wrestles through this moral quagmire a significant part of her past changes everything and causes her to rethink all she is doing.
For all the Jennifer Lopez fans out there who have waited for the follow-up to Maid in Manhattan, they do not need to wait any longer. By merely replacing the romantic tension provided by Ralph Fiennes with an underlying story of adoption, the screenwriters have reached into the candy jar for this year’s epitome of the saccharine sweet comedy. To believe that anyone would find themselves in this situation in this era where it only takes a few clicks on the computer to find out anyone’s work and personal data, this film goes beyond the best of fantasy and science fiction in cinema.
Harkening back to an era in cinema that will cause many to groan with agony at the predictability and implausible nature of the concept, it will lead to cheers from those looking to fill the rom-com void in their lives. This film is similar to the films of the 80s and 90s where the audiences suspend all disbelief because they want to see the protagonist get what they assume they deserve.
Containing everything from the overly loyal and pushy friend that is surrounded by the entourage who seem to live for the central character to the understanding but dim-witted boyfriend, this is rom-com completely by the numbers. Yet, director Peter Segal (Grudge Match) seems to be self-aware enough to know that this movie is for all of those looking for someone to cheer for coupled with a few laughs and tears for good measure.
REEL DIALOGUE: What is the value of parents?
There is nothing quite like the love of a parent. Even in the worst of experiences, the love, support and hug from your father or mother should have a soothing effect on your very existence. Second Act unexpectedly provides a glimpse into the value of family and especially the need for the love of a parent.
This relationship can come in the form of blood relations, a blended family or through adoption and shows that no price can be put on the importance of parents in the life of a child. Have you told your parents how much they mean to you today?
1. What is sacrificial love? (John 15:13, Ephesians 5:25)
2. What should we do in difficult times? (John 16:33, Philippians 4:6-7)
3. What does the Bible say about family? (John 15:12-17)