Second Act (12a), (104 mins) in cinemas
Her brilliant ideas undervalued and ignored, Maya finds herself dreaming of a world where “street smart” can be just as good as “book smart” when she is overlooked for promotion at a superstore, the job going to someone who has got absolutely no experience, but a business degree which apparently counts for everything.
That’s the starting point for Second Act, a modern fairy-tale in which a geeky computer whizkid “Cinderella’s Maya’s ass off” constructing a remarkably impressive CV of total untruths – sufficient, it seems, to get her summoned out of nowhere to walk straight into a top job she hadn’t even known about.
But oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Or something like that. Maya is soon walking a tightrope, forever on the point of being discovered in all her deceits – a discovery which will be all the worse for the fact that her natural talents are coming to the fore and she’s starting to do rather well in her new position.
Nothing about the story seems particularly original, but two things give it the lift it needs, the first being there’s no doubting Jennifer Lopez’ presence and charisma in the lead role, a perfect vehicle for her which she carries off with plenty of heart and style.
The second is that it soon emerges that something else is going on here, dark secrets from the past bobbing up with everyone apparently being manipulated for their own good.
The job Maya tumbles into is developing a new cosmetic, and it would take a far finer film than this to make this particular element of story come to life. The endless talk of products is pretty dull, and it’s impossible to feel the thrill of discovery when the penny drops that gingko tree is the missing magic ingredient her “product” is crying out for. Similarly dull, in fact rather annoying, are Maya’s cast of mates.
It all ends up in a gush of voice-over platitudes as Jennifer absorbs and spouts the true meaning of life. Frankly a bit yuck.
But Lopez is certainly a star turn, and it’s her presence which will keep you watching. She knows the camera loves her, and she loves it right back. The result is a nice film. Nice, but nothing more...