On DVD: Second Act

Second Act follows a big-box worker named Maya Varga (Jennifer Lopez) as a mixture of tomfoolery and happenstance catapult her from minimum-wage work into the stratosphere of corporate America. Her titular “second act” is full of comical moments and surprising reveals about her difficult past. She discovers the value of family and love and being true to oneself. She also displays the worth of her life experience and street smarts over the shallow college-degree requirements that many corporations use as a way of gatekeeping promotions.

It’s the sort of movie you might find on basic cable at 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in the year 2002 (not just because of J. Lo). The story is light, airy, built to please. Jokes fly in rapid succession if not always successfully. The moment when Second Act commits 100% to being the movie you expect: Upbeat music plays as Maya triumphantly walks out of her retail job in slow-motion. “She’s going to trip,” you think. She trips. Also slow-mo. Hilarity.

Vanessa Hudgens and Leah Remini co-star as Lopez’ new coworker and best friend. Milo Ventimiglia is also present and gets his own DVD special feature. At least everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. There’s no slagging Second Act because it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a pleasant couch-surfing experience. The DVD release features some promo videos — The Empowering Women of Second Act, for instance. None of these are particularly insightful.

Nothing here speaks to the soul. No problem.


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Administrator of Midwest Film Journal. Previously a staff writer for TheFilmYap.com, Evan has been writing film criticism in the Indianapolis area for over half a decade. He is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He also reviews Oreos.


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