‘Second Act’ Puts Jennifer Lopez Back in the Rom Com Driver’s Seat

I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy, and when it comes to this type of genre there are two A-list actresses that I know will hit it out of the park each time: Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez.


The former has shied away from these sorts of films in recent years to do more dramatic work, while the latter has gone all over the place, entertainment wise, when it comes to her being the pop culture icon that she is. Luckily, Jennifer is back in the Rom Com driver’s seat again with her latest film Second Act, which was released this weekend.

Second Act is a story that has been told several times before, just in different capacities. In this case, Jennifer takes on the role as Maya, a woman who has worked her way up to assistant manager at a local supermarket chain in Queens. The film opens with her stressed over trying to get a big promotion that she’s worked on for weeks, only for it to not happen because she doesn’t have a college education. They give the job to another employee, Arthur (Dan Bucatinsky), who does his best to exert power over Maya but gets intimidated each time he gets close to her.

Maya has two primary people around her: her longtime boyfriend Trey (Milo Ventimiglia) and best friend Joan (Leah Remini). Leah happens to work with Maya at the same supermarket, so she appears quite often as the somewhat voice of reason throughout this film, much to Maya’s annoyance for the most part.

Trey wants to take things to the next level with Maya and get engaged, but she seems resistant to that. Joan brings up some random girl’s name in the beginning of the film in relation to Maya’s relationship who will play a much larger part as the movie goes along.


Maya is clearly fed up with her surroundings at work and is pissed that she didn’t get the promotion due to her lack of education. She then gets a phone call for an interview at a major corporation without understanding why. She then finds out that Joan’s son Dilly (Dalton Harrod) created a fake persona of Maya’s that has her as a Harvard graduate, working with the Peace Corps and so much more that makes her real-life resume pale in comparison.

She goes to the interview and keeps up with the fake persona to get ahead at the company, which works as they take her on as a consultant for their beauty brands. It’s here that she meets the daughter of the CEO of the company, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens), who appears stiff and standoffish in the beginning, but things shift between her and Maya due to one major factor that changes how the rest of the film will be played out.

That’s all I’ll give for now, as the rest will give too much away. This is the sort of film that rings true to others out there, like Working Girl, Legally Blonde, and other that finds the viewer ultimately rooting for the character who happens to be the underdog. Jennifer has done this in past films as well and continues to excel in these sorts of roles as Second Act proved to be a great return for her in this genre.

She plays off of the other characters very well, notably Zoe and Joan, the latter of which makes sense given that Jennifer and Leah are great friends in real life, so it was fun to see them interact on screen. Also, any excuse to see Milo shirtless is fine with me.

For any of us that want to go in with a snarky kind of attitude about it… don’t. We know what we are getting. This isn’t anything Oscar-worthy, and it shouldn’t be. It’s just a feel good movie with all the right “Rom Com” material that has a heartwarming ending we all yearn for. And isn’t that what is needed right now given the current climate we live in?

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

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