THE REEL: 'Second Act' is a filler movie

Wednesday March 18 2020

Second Act (2018) is a filler movie starring JLo. She has outgrown such movies. PHOTO| COURTESY


Second Act (2018) is a filler movie. You know, when you are looking for a movie that is easy and doesn’t require you to interact too much with it.

The plotline is cheesy and the laughs very obvious, this is that movie. Starring Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens amongst others, it tells the story of how a store worker reinvents her life and moves on up using her street smarts to conquer the corporate world.

The movie is classified as a comedy, drama and romance and it’s Rated PG-13 for some crude sexual references, and language. It runs for 1hr 43mins.

We have seen Jennifer Lopez play this character before in Maid in Manhattan and Wedding Planner and it feels like it’s a comfortable character for her to play.

It doesn’t really require a lot of finesse, for her to play the character of the girl next door.


The movie tackles the topic of the eternal struggle of the choice that women have to make between rising up the corporate ladder while balancing a relationship.

In the movie, JLo’s character Maya is in a loving steady relationship with Trey played by the ever dependable Milo Ventimiglia who I fell in love with in Heroes.

He also plays a loving dad in the hit series This is Us which is another beloved favourite.

Maya doesn’t want to have kids and Trey really doesn’t understand the reason why since on the surface everything looks good for the two to go ahead and have them.

Maya has a secret that she hasn’t told Trey about and it’s preventing her from getting on the same page with him regarding getting kids.

Theirs is a loving relationship but even in such, one can still feel unable to share their deepest feelings.

Maya is a champion retailer who manages to ensure that her store hits its targets but is often overlooked because she doesn’t have the requisite graduate credentials.

She is always getting overlooked and has to see other people who aren’t conversant with the store and the customers preferences become her supervisor.

There is also the snarky patriarchal attitude that says that a man can do the job better than a woman who has spent her life building the business into the status and prestige that it currently enjoys.

The movie requires you to suspend your disbelief that a worker can infiltrate a corporate entity and work her way up without anyone being the wiser.

It helps that Maya knows her stuff and is able to apply it to the tasks placed in front of her. In real life, there have been people who managed to pull such stunts successfully and weren’t caught on for decades, it’s plausible.

The rest of the store workers cheer Maya on, they want her to succeed because she is a representative of their own dreams.

They are all hard working women whose dreams remain elusive but they champion an underdog who has a one in a million stab at an alternative life.

Leah Remini plays Joan, the wise cracking best friend who is a confidant to Maya and whose son sets up the entire corporate charade. She is a blunt no-nonsense person who has a very colourful personality.

I must admit I’m not a fan of this new wave in film of having adults use four letter cuss words in front of children and have the children cuss back, I find it very cringe-worthy.

Maya has to navigate a corporate world that isn’t kind to those without a certain scholastic pedigree, that recognizes the schools that one went to and the shared vacation spots of the heavily moneyed.

Zoe played by Vanessa Hudgens, she of the High School Musical fame, is comfortable in this world as the daughter of the founder of a Manhattan-based company that markets organic skin care products.

She takes on Maya head to head, to prove who among them is worthy to be in charge of the business.

The movie twist in my opinion is too far-fetched, as far as the storyline goes, and is quite a stretch of one’s imagination.

The movie as I said is a comfortable one for JLo and I feel the time has come for her to discard such roles.