Jennifer Lopez returns to the block for Second Act, a rags to riches romp which, through a set of delightful twists, ditches the ruthless career-comedy shtick for a refreshingly kind-hearted caper.
As Maya, Lopez proves that she can be all at once an innovative working class woman and a convincing, immaculately dressed corporate bigwig. She embraces her background, injecting her street savvy ways into an industry reliant on Silicon Valley shorthand and quickly earning the respect of her CEO, who pits her against his daughter Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens) to see who can design a better organic skincare line.
Female rivalries in film feel somewhat outdated today and Second Act has caught on, wasting no time in evolving Maya and Zoe’s relationship from competing colleagues into something sweeter. The twists in the story from here are doused in sentiment, but use Maya’s troubled past to guide Second Act away from a formulaic battle to the finish line.
The supporting cast only get snatches of screen time but complement the story nicely; Judd Apatow alumnus Charlyne Yi brings the comedy as Maya’s vertigo-suffering aid (they work in a skyscraper) and Milo Ventimiglia, the moustachioed dad from NBC’s This Is Us, channels that same wholesome energy into Maya’s beau Trey.
The result is still heaps of fun. Lopez utilises her rom-com timing and musical background to excellent effect. Under the froth however lies a shining example of what happens when, in the right hands, a tired genre gets its own modern makeover.