Short Reviews: The Back-Up Plan, Just Wright, The Secret in Their Eyes

The Back-Up Plan | Alan Poul, 2010

Although she is not particularly talented, Jennifer Lopez can do good in romantic comedies (I’ll always defend Monster-in-Law), but it seems that she has reached that point where it feels that she is only doing them because she doesn’t think she is capable of doing anything else. And it truly does show here.

The trailers made the movie seem like it was a typical romantic comedy, but it plays out more like a drama, and the actors are not up to the challenge. Lopez overacts and doesn’t have any chemistry whatsoever with Alex O’Laughlin. I guess it did not help that he is as charming as a wooden plank. The only scenes with some heart were the ones with Anthony Anderson explaining parenthood, but even then they were ruined by horrible humor

Just Wright | Sanaa Hamri, 2010

Queen Latifah is not the greatest actress out there, but she always bring an endearing charm to whatever role she is playing. She does the same thing here, so she ended up being far and away the best thing about it.

Latifah plays Leslie Wright, a physical therapist who is also a huge Basketball fan. One day he meets the star player of her favorite team, Steve McKnight (Common), and likes him, but her cousin, Morgan (Paula Patton), catcher his eye instead. After he is injured, she is hired to heal him and get ready for the playoffs.

The movie is actually smaller than I expected given the cast and the plot. However, the movie is way too slow and made me want to fast forward, especially because it is oh so predictable. Common gives a horrible performance, and Paula Patton fare better, but she just didn’t give it her all. But Latifah gives the movie some credibility

El Secreto De Sus Hojos | Juan Jose Campanella, 2010

Imagine a crossover between “Castle,” “Law & Order: SVU,” and “CSI” made for HBO and in spanish, and you get this movie. However, I’m not putting it down. The plot may be one of those that you can see for free every week on any of these shows, but the overall production makes it an excellent cop story.

The story follows a retired police man (Ricardo Marin) who is trying to write a novel based on a crime that happened 25 years ago. So, he remember the details, and with the help of his former boss (Soledad Villamil), he decides to find out what happened to the people involved in the case.

The performances and the direction are what made the movie rise way above the level of your regular cop drama. The script is very good, but the big reveal at the end is silly, although what happens before does justify it. But still, it is one of the better movies of the year.


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