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I can understand the nostalgia for mid-range comedies from the 1990s. After all, who doesn’t miss Hollywood Pictures? (*crickets*) “Second Act” attempts to be a relic from an era when all anyone wanted from their light entertainment was a sassy best friend, a weirdly choreographed group dance number, and plenty of misunderstandings. Sadly, there isn’t much room for such multiplex distractions these days, but that doesn’t stop director Peter Segal, who attempts to revive the romantic/workplace/slapstick comedy with star Jennifer Lopez, who commits to everything “Second Act” presents her, which is no small achievement. After all, this is a supremely bizarre screenplay from Justin Zackham and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, forcing Lopez to ride a tonal roller coaster in the name of comfy sweater entertainment, finding Segal surprisingly fearless when it comes to eye-crossing plot turns for a move that’s better off remaining as simple as possible.
Maya (Jennifer Lopez) has given her adulthood to Valueshop, a big box store that has no interest in promoting her to a senior managerial position, despite her widespread knowledge about the business, overflowing with bright ideas for corporate success. Feeling bummed over lost opportunities as she celebrates her 40th birthday with boyfriend Trey (Milo Ventimiglia), Maya’s world suddenly changes when she’s called in for a job with a consumer products corporation, wowing CEO Clarke (Treat Williams) with a resume Maya’s pal Joan (Leah Remini) helped to invent, giving her friend the gift of employability. Suddenly an executive, Maya’s first task is to return real ingredients into organic skin care, challenging rival, and Clarke’s daughter, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens), to a testing competition, which brings the women closer. While Maya keeps up the charade of notable professional and personal achievements, office monster Ron (Freddie Stroma) works hard to uncover any of the new hire’s secrets.
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