‘Second Act’ | Film Review

December 22, 2018
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews
1

Summary

Filled with endless zingers that hit the ground like a bowling ball from a 10th-floor window, Second Act is tedious from the start. There is nothing worse than low-brow pretending to be high-class.

1

Summary

Filled with endless zingers that hit the ground like a bowling ball from a 10th-floor window, Second Act is tedious from the start. There is nothing worse than low-brow pretending to be high-class.

Why are studio comedies so hard to make? Is it too many hands in the cookie jar resulting in multiple points of view that pull the film in different directions? They say in football that you really don’t have one if you have two or three options at Quarterback. The American comedy film suffers from that same mentality; if you have so many points of view, you really don’t have one succinct storyline. Second Act suffers from that same principle.

Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) has been working for almost 15 years at a Value Shop store. She has put her stamp on it by molding it to her customer base. She has increased profits. Her customers love her. Her innovative style and real-world problem-solving skills do nothing but make her branch the most successful store in her quadrant. As she meets the president of the company Mr. Weiskopf (the long-lost Larry Miller), he informs her that she will be the right-hand man of the new manager, as she is passed over because of her lack of a college degree.

Her closest friend’s (real-life best friend Leah Remini) son creates a professional profile for her 43rd birthday that gets noticed by Anderson Clark (Treat Williams), the owner of a private finance firm, to consult on their profit-plummeting products. Anderson’s daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), who is responsible for the company’s cosmetic line and places profits over customer’s concerns, is immediately at odds with her. Maya also has a boyfriend (Milo Ventimiglia) who wants to start a family, but Maya wants a career.

Peter Segal makes (or used to anyway) crowd-pleasing films that have never been a hit with critics. His films have that type of low-brow humor that preceded the Adam Sandler films of the world and is going out of style. Second Act really isn’t a romantic comedy. The Lopez vehicle wants to be a comedy with heart. With elements of coming of age, family, and low-brow humor, and it thinks it has more to say than it really does. There is a major plot point in Segal’s film that is rather telegraphed. Which causes such a gaping plot hole you could drive a Sears truck right through the thing.

While I can always admire a film that puts an actress nearly a decade older opposite a younger male co-star. Even if the earnest message of it’s never too late to reinvent yourself gets lost in its meandering plot. Second Act over-sentimentalizes every character’s decision. Overall, business scenes are disingenuous (there is one presentation done so incompetently I thought I was watching a bad episode of Shark Tank). And consistent one-liners that fall flat to the ground like a bowling bowl dropping from a tenth-floor window.

At least a similar movie, like Larry Crown, knew what it wanted to be; Segal’s film is too busy trying to please everyone’s taste and suffers for it.

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