The Back-Up Plan requires something a little different, so this is what’s going to happen. The following bit is a review based on the trailer, written prior to watching the full film. Given the information contained within said trailer, there should be little to no variation between watching the full film and a simple preview based on the inevitable predictability.
Jennifer Lopez plays an incredibly hot woman in New York who somehow has remained single all this time. She decides to try artificial insemination, but oops, wouldn’t you know it, the meet cute happens inside a taxi. Her side character quirky friends who have no real influence on the plot tell her to tell said guy the truth about the baby, but she waits until the worst time possible. This of course follows the montage of dates and smiling from the perfect guy.
They break-up, there is some forced drama, but wouldn’t you know it? The guy comes running back to profess his love, leaving the family to live happily ever after. Cue credits.
… two hours later…
It’s worse than that. No, seriously. Jennifer Lopez doesn’t have one quirky friend to offer her character Zoe hackneyed advice that is obvious to everyone but her; she has lots of them. There’s the support group, her co-workers, older relatives, and her close friend who just sort of is and doesn’t do anything really.
They do break up as predicted, although that happens earlier than expected. There are montages though, painful grimacing montages, to ensure their relationship is special. However, they break up again, this time on cue to set up the finale where the guy comes running back… which is actually reversed. This time it’s up to Zoe to run back into one-dimensional character development guy’s arms, and yes, a perfect father is born.
Back-Up Plan is almost a total wash, saved ever so briefly by Anthony Anderson who plays a father at the playground, offering advice to one-dimensional guy (Alex O’Loughlin). There are laughs generated there and during the blooper reel during the credits. That’s a long wait for something funny. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Movie]
Sony delivers an unusually coarse transfer for this film, which from the start delivers a rather poorly resolved grain structure. It’s quite noisy and pronounced, unusual for new releases from the studio. Outside in the rain at 6:47 the image is awash with clumpy, noisy grain. The bitrate is fine and stable, much like the black levels which never reach full density, but deliver a nicely dimensional image.
The film opens on some clean, sharply detailed animated credits. For the most part, the live action remains the same. Sharpness is only partially firm, leaving some of the scenes in the dark a bit murky and soft, but not offensively so. Colors are warmly tinted and well saturated, certainly bright enough to be impressive. Shots inside the gym at 23:12 are gorgeous for their incredible array of hues.
Lopez wears a striped shirt early at 6:28 that flickers slightly in motion, the only time this issue crops up. Generally, this one can handle the finer details when they are apparent. Lopez has a close-up at 37:13 that looks great, visible pores and all. Late, Alex O’Loughlin is much the same at 1:33:28, every ridge and imperfection completely visible. The problem is this never seems consistent. Lopez and O’Loughlin look flat and even a hair digital at 18:25, a problem that tends to repeat itself quite often.
It’s a shame not everything can look like the muffins at 14:04, their rich and delicious sugar toppings tempting enough to reach into the screen. Some of the establishing photography is great too, an aerial of the farm at 35:21 about perfect. The lack of consistency is a problem, almost as if Sony gave this to any compressionist because they didn’t care either. Can you blame them? [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
There is some nice street level ambiance going on in Back-Up Plan, New York vividly portrayed in the surrounds with cars passing by, honking horns, and other city sounds. The same goes for that rain earlier, which comes down in buckets effectively.
Music interludes suffer from no issues, all that’s expected from a modern studio effort. This DTS-HD mix doesn’t have much to do, but does reproduce the dialogue cleanly without any faults. It remains balanced well from any miniscule audio spikes, not that it’s saying much. The stereo channels are not home to anything distinct, including a lack of positional dialogue or distinct separation. It is sufficient if nothing else. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Four deleted scenes make you wish the entire movie ended up here, followed by a promo featurette Belly Laughs, which has a half-correct title. Trailers, Movie IQ, and BD-Live remain. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]