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April 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The fledgling CBS Films’s strategy is to make relatively low-budget movies starring big marquee names and hope that those names will draw audiences to the multiplex. That was apparently its plan when it released Extraordinary Measures, starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser last January and so it seems to be now as it offers The Back-up Plan with Jennifer Lopez. The first film flopped badly, barely earning $12 million during its entire domestic run. And, if audiences react to the new movie the way critics have, it may have to start considering a back-up plan. “Desperately boring” is the way Roger Ebert describes it in his review in the Chicago Sun-Times. That’s his conclusion. He begins his review this way: “Some movies are no better than second-rate sitcoms. Other movies are no better than third-rate sitcoms. The Back-up Plan doesn’t deserve comparison with sitcoms. It plays like an unendurable TV commercial about beautiful people with great lifestyles and not a thought in their empty little heads.” Lopez, who is apparently attempting to revive a film career that, after her success with Selena, never really took off, comes in for some stinging attacks. The movie, says Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe, “is a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez. So it can’t be interesting at all.” Says Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Lopez does not so much give a performance as cheerfully endure multiple wardrobe malfunctions.” A few reviewers aren’t quite so harsh. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times simply dismisses the film as “a not very good and yet painless waste of time.” Claudia Puig in USA Today calls it “blandly predictable,” adding, “If it were a cheese, it would be Velveeta.” And Puig is among several critics who invoke the adjective “cute” to describe it — pejoratively.