Thursday, 25 July 2019

Second Act ★★★☆☆

Living in a sleepy little seaside town, I don’t often get the opportunity to visit a multiplex – so, when I do, I make a day of it. I’ll usually try and catch a few films back-to-back. A few months back, I had a few hours to kill between films I actively wanted to see, and I found myself in a screening of Second Act. I had no idea how I got there. It was the sort of film I usually wouldn’t be caught dead watching. And yet, there I was. I took it like a man and stayed for the duration, which in itself was a surprise. But the biggest surprise of all? It wasn’t that bad.

Convincing you of that fact is going to be near impossible, but I’ll try and put into words how this charming little film actually entertained me and left me with big ol’ feeling of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. 

Jennifer Lopez stars as Maya, a 40-year-old woman struggling with frustrations from unfulfilled dreams. Until that is, she gets the chance to prove to Madison Avenue that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts and that it is never too late for a – wait for it – SECOND ACT. Still reading? Wow. I respect your patience with me on this one. So basically, Maya’s best friend’s young son makes a Facebook page for Maya which is just riddled with bullshit about her supposed endless qualifications and general perfection. Off the strength of that, she bags an incredible job – but of course, it’s only a matter of time until all the lies come tumbling down and she’s out on her iconic arse. Refreshingly, this is NOT a rom-com! There is some romance to be had, but it’s with Milo Ventimiglia, so it’s pretty understandable. The man-crush is real.

Anyway, this is just a charming and fun little film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Most of the jokes genuinely land and the ridiculously simple plot is so unchallenging that you can totally switch off your brain. This is cinematic comfort food of the highest order, snuggling the viewer up like a warm sweater and gently whispering that everything’s going to be ok. There’s no violence or cynicism and certainly no reminders of how bloody awful the world is right now. This is just Jennifer Lopez doing her thang in New York City for 90 minutes, and I’m here to tell you that I think that’s what you need right now. I can see you shaking your head and hovering over the x on this tab, muttering to yourself “I’ve read enough of this shit”, and hey, I don’t blame you. If anybody else had told me all of this about Second Act I’d probably tell them to fuck off.

But, dear reader, trust me. Second Act is just what you need right now. There is absolutely nothing remotely intellectual or high-brow about this film. One of the film’s biggest laughs comes from Jennifer Lopez unintentionally telling a powerful Chinese businessman that one of his colleagues’ anal glands need milking. Yeah. This one’s not going to win any awards (except maybe Razzies) and it’s certainly not going to be remembered this time next year. Hell, this time next week the world will have forgotten about Second Act. But today, right now, give it a chance. Switch off your mind and admit to yourself that we all need a shit film every now and then. It relaxes the mind better than any drink or drug could. 

Sam Love

Second Act at CeX

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