Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini
Director: Peter Segal
Running Time: 103 mins
Second Act is an American film about a middle-aged woman who, after having never managed to find a good job despite her business talents, gets a second chance at success when a friend writes up a fake CV for her, and helps her into a major role at a cosmetics company.
There’s nothing awfully terrible about Second Act, and while it’s hardly the world’s most engrossing comedy-drama, or even the most convincing story, it tells a suprisingly earnest and genuine tale of hard work, following a woman who, despite her talents, has never had the chance to show her stuff where it really counts.
From that, it’s fairly clear what sort of film Second Act is. A little cheesy, moderately inspiring, but most of all impressively good at heart. It’s not a generic, faux tale of inspiration, and although there are parts of its screenplay that do come across as a little far-fetched, its core story about a middle-aged woman finally finding the opportunity to show her talents is really rather nice to see.
Jennifer Lopez is entirely likable in the lead role, once again showing her talents when playing more mature characters than what she was best known for in the past, and in terms of portraying that impressively genuine drama that’s at the heart of the story, she does a great job throughout, really getting you on side to will her on in the face of the numerous unfair obstacles she comes up against.
Her co-stars don’t impress on screen quite to the same degree, something that’s also symptomatic of playing characters which often play little more than the role of plot devices, but Lopez is a great lead in a film that effectively boils down to a one-woman tale.
The screenplay’s pleasantly genuine drama is absolutely the film’s greatest strength, because other parts of the story unfortunately get trapped in a few too many generic Hollywood tropes, dragging what at times is a very modern story back in time to following a predictable, cheesy story line.
In that, there are a few rather far-fetched story twists and elements that, although perfectly nice, don’t have the same genuine emotional power as the rest of the film, and really take away from your connection and engagement with the characters and story, particularly towards the final act.
And on top of that, the film doesn’t quite impress when it comes to the comedic side of things. Second Act still achieves its main goal in delivering a genuine and moderately inspiring dramatic story, but it really isn’t as funny or even charismatic as it thinks. So, when the movie takes an admittedly needed comedic break from time to time, it really falls down, failing to entertain or engross to the same extent as its fairly engaging story.
Overall, then, I liked Second Act to a degree, and despite underwhelming comedy, some far-fetched plot elements and less-than-stellar supporting performances, it impresses with pleasantly genuine and heartwarming drama, as well as a mature and likable lead turn from Jennifer Lopez, which is why I’m giving it a 6.8.