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Second Act


Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Milo Ventimiglia, Vanessa Hudgens, Treat Williams, Leah Remini, Larry Miller

Director: Peter Segal

Or: how Jenny-from-the-Block made it in the big City. There are echoes of Working Girl in this vehicle for the curvaceous Lopez, but alas only echoes. That great film somehow seemed real, but this is excruciatingly fake from the start.

J-Lo plays Maya Vargas, who has been assistant manager at a superstore for six years, and has a drop-dead-gorgeous boyfriend (Ventimiglia), who does Good Things like coaching baseball to a team of kids.

Well, Maya's cute nose is put severely out of joint when her manager leaves, and a new man is brought in over her head. Then, out of the blue, she's invited to become a consultant at a giant cosmetics firm - thanks, we learn later, to a fake CV invented online by her friend's IT-genius son.

Welcomed by the CEO (Williams), but given a frosty reception by his daughter (Hudgens) and snooty Brit exec Ron (Freddie Stroma). J-Lo. now sporting a new, Streisand-style hairdo, fits in well but, unwilling to start a family - and haunted by having given away her baby daughter at 17 - she breaks up with Ventimiglia.

Lopez and Hudgens simply aren't up to the subsequent emotional ramifications of the plot, and such humour as there is - when the film is not falling over backwards not to use the F-word and save its 12A - reaches a low when Maya's earphone instructions in Mandarin Chinese (on meeting a Far Eastern bigwig) from a Chinese veterinarian get mixed up with his comments on aspects of a cow's bottom.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: STX International. Colour (unspecified).
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 21 Jan 2019