It's been a long time coming, but the rom-com is finally having its renaissance. Though the genre has been languishing unloved since the mid-Noughties, when barely a week would go by without Jennifer Aniston starring opposite a string of generic Hollywood men who definitely didn’t deserve her, the last year or so has marked a turning point. The Big Sick, a rom-com so classic it even has an ongoing joke about Hugh Grant, won an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay earlier this year; this summer, Netflix’s algorithm has dreamt up Set It Up, which has won over both streaming viewers and critics. So, who better to ride the wave of this revival than rom-com queen par excellence, Jennifer Lopez, who stars in the new trailer for Second Act, a film which seems to have all the component parts of our Nineties and Noughties favourites?
Opening, like almost every film of its ilk, with an aerial shot of the ‘Big City,’ in this case New York, Second Act sees Lopez star as a woman frustrated by her dead-end job, feeling held back by her lack of college degree. With the help of a pretend degree, a souped-up LinkedIn profile and some carefully photoshopped pictures with the Obamas, she lands a job at a prestigious uptown firm (Working Girl, anyone?) but – spoiler alert – will her lies catch up with her? We really hope not, because J.Lo deserves the best.
Of course, it’s hard to read that plot synopsis without noticing some glaring similarities between the premise of Second Act and that of another J. Lo classic, Maid In Manhattan, released back in 2002. The rags to riches story has Lopez playing a maid working in a fancy Manhattan hotel, who must pretend to be a wealthy hotel guest after a case of mistaken identity causes her to start dating a politician, played by a pre-Voldemort Ralph Fiennes. Do her lies catch up with her? Sort of, yes, but this being a rom-com, it all works out in the end.
The similarities don’t end there: where Maid In Manhattan had a supporting cast of past or future rom-com stars like The Parent Trap’s Natasha Richardson and Stanley Tucci, Second Act can boast appearances from Milo Ventimiglia (of This Is Us fame, aka Jess from Gilmore Girls) as a supportive husband, High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens and J.Lo’s off-screen best friend Leah Remini as her on-screen best friend. We'll be waiting not-so patiently until 21st November, when the film is set to arrive in cinemas (until then, we'll be re-watching Made In Manhattan, The Wedding Planner, The Back Up Plan... but maybe not Gigli...)
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Second Chances, 1993
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