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Second Act review- outstanding cast, disappointing story

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Directed by Peter Segal, Second Act (2018) is an American comedy film about Maya (Jennifer Lopez), a 40-year-old woman who feels unsatisfied with her career path and is desperate for a change. With a brilliant cast including Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Hudgens and Leah Remini, this film had everything to go right. Unfortunately, a poor script and predictable story generated mixed opinions about it.

Courtesy of STXinternational

After 15 years of being the manager of a department store, Maya feels disappointed to not have achieved more well-regarded positions in work. Her biggest regret, and the reason why companies keep rejecting her applications is not having a college degree. However, she is determined to prove that education doesn’t always mean wisdom and wants to make street smart the new college smart.

On her 40th birthday, she wishes to live a more fulfilled life. As she gets a new extensive resume, that includes attending Harvard University, climbing the Himalayas and meeting the Obamas, she gets hired for her dream job. One problem though: none of the experience and skills stated there are true. But Maya holds another big secret. Drum rolls: in her teenage years, she had a daughter that she was forced to send to adoption. Her other goal is to find her.

Now living her best life and focusing on her career, Maya breaks up with her boyfriend Trey (Milo Ventimiglia) whilst her honest criticism of the company’s organic skincare line creates a rivalry between her and Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens), the director’s daughter who also works for the company.

Maya is then asked to create a totally organic product and that same Zoe, to develop the existent one. This project will lead them to discover that their path had crossed before; Maya finally finds her beloved daughter. To say the least, this scene was disappointing, confusing, and a quite annoying cliché.

Courtesy of STXinternational

As you would expect, Maya goes back to her ex, Trey, after realising that their love was bigger than any kind of career achievement and having aligned life choices (cough). THE END.

Although funny at times, the film shows quite an ordinary repetitive storyline with Jennifer Lopez’s role being the biggest disappointment. This role and script do not do justice to her talent. It is exactly what everyone is expecting from Lopez: light-hearted, funny, with a relatable life background and a magnetic performance. Basically, Jenny from the Block who transforms into a greatly successful businesswoman through the power of thriving and overcoming hardships (cough cough).

The true and only surprise of this film really is Leah Remini - playing Joan, Maya’s friend. Her character is bubbly, sarcastic, hilariously straight-forward and brings a lot to the story. Which is saying something. 

Maybe the best is just to go without expecting an inspirational film but rather a feel-good one, as far from real-life as you can imagine. 

In the end, Jennifer Lopez’ outfits may just be the most inspirational aspect of the film.

Second Act will be released in the UK on the 25th of January.




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