Friday, April 5, 2019

Second Act Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Jennifer Lopez stars in the comedy/drama Second Act, about a woman frustrated about missing opportunities due to lacking education. The film is directed by Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, Anger Management, 50 First Dates). A supporting cast of Leah Rimini, Milo Ventimiglia and Vanessa Hudgens are there to support Lopez’s character as she makes big changes in her life.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Maya (Jennifer Lopez) has been very successful at the retail store Value Shop. Her ideas have increased profits and productivity. Maya has been a loyal employee for fifteen years and has come a long way from the homeless teen who gave up her baby for adoption. Maya’s best friend Joan (Leah Remini) has always supported her, as does her boyfriend (Milo Ventimiglia). Although she has no college degree and possesses only a GED, Maya tries for a big promotion at work. When she is not promoted, and can’t play well with the new manager, she walks off the job.

Joan’s son tries to help and creates a fake resume and the supporting social media presence to back it up. Franklin & Clarke, a retailer Maya is familiar with ask for an interview. During the interview, she learns of her fake credentials. CEO Anderson Clarke (Treat Williams) is impressed and brings Maya on as a consultant. His daughter Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens) does not warm up to Maya. Zoe and Maya end up on competing teams working to design an organic product that will increase profits.

Second Act is clearly meant to have an empowering premise. It shows that book smarts aren’t everything. Even though Maya lied to get the job she clearly has what it takes to be successful. While the “you can be anything” mentality is nice, the story becomes rather predictable. I don’t mind predictable, some viewers will. Romantic comedies are something Jennifer Lopez excels at, but this film doesn’t have enough romance to qualify. I wouldn’t be surprised if people watched this and then dusted off their copy of The Wedding Planner. It wasn’t a bad movie, it wasn’t a great movie. I like to watch movies repeatedly and I don’t know that this will make it back into my regular rotation.

The film is well cast. The emotion is genuine, and the film does have its touching moments. Lopez and Remini are very believable best friends and Milo Ventimiglia is just charming enough to make you believe he could land a girl like J Lo. Second Act is sound in both audio and video quality but is very lacking in bonus content.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Second Act is a chick flick that looks good on Blu-ray. Words like “fine” and “acceptable” come to mind when trying to describe images with good detail and not a lot a lot of complicated scenes. The Value Shop vests offer pops of authentic color. Skin tones are accurate. Most of what you see is as expected and although there is digital noise present as times it is rarely an issue to the overall experience.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is sufficient. This type of film doesn’t lend itself to extremes in sound. When spaces are crowded, the audio sounds authentically crowded. Dialogue is intelligible and consistent throughout the film. Clarity is good inside buildings, and out on the street. I had no complaints, nor was I wowed by the sound quality.
Extras (1/2 out of 5 stars)
Second Act provides the most lacking extras I have seen in a while on a Blu-ray. What they give can only be classified as snippets and the trailer is the longest bonus feature included.
  • Connecting with Milo Ventimiglia (0:55) – A brief discussion of Jennifer Lopez’s only choice to play her boyfriend.
  • The Empowering Women of Second Act (0:55) – A short introduction to the female characters.
  • Friendship on and Off Screen (0:58) – Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini – off screen friends and on-screen besties.
  • Working with the Ones You Love (0:32) – The cast states they get along, with comments repeated from previous extras.
  • Trailer (2:36)
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Second Act is worth watching. Given the lack of extra content you might want to rent before you buy. The viewer who wants to believe that you shouldn’t be limited by your circumstances will find it empowering. The cynical viewer will focus on the fact that Maya is in fact, a liar. For those whose hearts are easily warmed there is a lot to cling to. Recommended (unenthusiastically).

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