Judith Crist and Rex Reed enjoyed celebrity status by turning bad reviews into a cottage industry, and the website rottentomatoes.com built its foundation by comparing some films to bad produce. But there's something wrong about taking such glee in trashing an art form. I was really hoping not to write a bad review. Honestly, I was.
I conducted a social experiment at the cineplex. I loitered near the box office while taking a quiet tally of which movie was selling the most tickets in an hour's time. The finalists were: The Back-Up Plan (Jennifer Lopez with an EPT stick) or The Losers (Zoe Saldana with a semi-automatic weapon). As the showtimes approached, it was clear that The Back-Up Plan was selling more that particular weekend evening. I watched scores of couples enter the theater, with many of the ladies in a rather ebullient mood and many of the guys with a resigned look of disinterest. So, I manned up, bought a ticket and settled in for 98 of the longest minutes of my life.
Minute No. 1: A pedicure joke. Somebody shoot me.
Minute No. 15: The third in a long line of pee jokes. Somebody perform CPR, bring me back to life and shoot me again.
Minute No. 30: The male lead makes cheese. He makes the first "Would you like to taste my cheese?" joke. Somebody dig me up from my grave, jam needles in my eyes, and then shoot me one more time.
Minute No. 45: Zoe (Lopez) and Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) have one of a string of break-up-to-make-up scenes. I go to the concession stand. I'm not even hungry. I just need to press my mental reset button. Wanting to prolong my recess, I let six other people cut in front of me. When I get to the counter, I'm still not hungry. I order coffee. Have you ever had a cup of coffee at a cineplex? Somebody dig me up from my grave again .... By the time I return to the theater, Zoe and Stan are still in the same break-up scene. Still.
Minutes No. 60 through 89: A long list of cliches: a potty-mouthed grandma, a guy who passes out in an OB/GYN exam room, strolls down spotless New York City streets, even a shirtless guy riding a tractor.
Minute No. 90: A blooper reel. Really?
One scene stuck out rather vividly: Stan is told by a father of three that "being a Dad is awful, and then awful, awful, awful, and then amazing, and then awful again."
The Back-Up Plan is the same, except for the amazing part.