Any movie like Second Act that has the combined talents of rom-com queen Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens was always going to get our attention. Add in the casting of one Milo Ventimiglia and the super talented Leah Remini we knew just had to see it.
Directed by Peter Segal and produced by Jennifer herself. Second Act tells the story of a ‘street smart’ 40-year-old Maya Vargas (Lopez), who is unfulfilled in her dead-end managerial role at a supermarket. Encouraged by her BFF Joan (Leah Remini), Maya takes a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity at a very posh and corporate Manhattan-based company marketing organic skin care products. What is interesting about Maya is she is an interesting blend of two Jennifer’s most well-known personas, Made in Manhattan, works in what she feels is an unfulfilling job for a corporate company and Jenny from the Block, who was brought up in the Bronx and is fiercely loyal and protective of her upbringing yet yearns for more.
Maya ends up landing her dream job, after Joan’s son “creatively re-words” her CV and creates her a social media persona. Maya goes to the interview aces it but makes a nemesis out of Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens). She then dumps her boyfriend Trent (Ventimiglia) declaring she has no time for love as she has to focus on her new job. This moves the movie away from the stereotypical rom-com territory. But does make you wonder why can’t she have both? The message is slightly confusing.
Maya vows to prove she can do the job. But that sort of gets de-railed when it’s revealed that Zoe is actually Maya’s long lost daughter who she gave up for adoption. The CEO of the company Maya now works for is Zoe’s adopted father and gave Maya the job knowing full well she was Zoe’s biological mum.
The revelation is thrown out and it derails all the other story arcs the film has going on. Both Hudgens and Lopez’s acting cannot be faulted. Hudgens absolutely shines in the scenes where she gets to showcase Zoe’s hard-faced bitchy side. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see more of it in the film. Lopez excels in the more emotive scenes and her chemistry with Leah Remini is an absolute joy to watch.
The combined talent in the film makes it an enjoyable watch. The script while mismatched has some very funny moments. Second Act is a nice light-hearted watch if you don’t take the plot twist too seriously. It’s mesage is simple: it’s never too late to start over. It’s a great feel good movie to go and watch with your friends.
Second Act is in UK cinemas on 25 January.
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