Second Act

Out Now On-Demand

Her talent was real. Her resume was not.

Jennifer Lopez uses her street smarts to land—and nail—her dream job on Madison Avenue in this rom-com from the director of Get Smart. Problem is, she was also helped by her friend's son who modified her Facebook profile with some "alternative facts" about her life.

Second Act is a welcome big screen comeback for Jennifer Lopez, even if the story feels a little familiar.

Lopez plays Maya, essentially an alternate version of Maria, her character in 2002’s Maid in Manhattan. Both Maya and Maria are clever, resourceful, working-class women in hoop earrings who end up entangled in mistaken identity fiascos due to makeovers and half-truths told by their misguided, well-meaning friends. When she is refused a promotion at her discount department store job, her best friend’s son overhauls Maya's online presence with impressive photoshopped pictures featuring the Obamas and Kilimanjaro, landing her a corporate consultancy gig and a corner office at a major cosmetics company based in Manhattan.

The film is at its best when it lets Lopez do her thing, and at its worst when it attempts to garner emotion through an obvious, over-sentimental adoption subplot. Mostly it’s fun, and funny, featuring the best rowing joke in cinematic history — something about a coxswain. Important ideas around class and education inequality are approached in a smart, light manner, and supporting roles from Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini, Charlyne Yi, and Milo Ventimiglia are all skillfully cast and well performed.

It makes sense that the film feels a little stuck in the 2000s; it’s directed by Peter Segal, frequent Adam Sandler collaborator and director of 2000s hits 50 First Dates, Get Smart, Anger Management and The Longest Yard.

Second Act is nothing new or outstanding, but it’s a nice watch, and worth it to see Jennifer Lopez on screen again, if only to play the same cautiously ambitious character we’ve seen from her many times before.

NZ Herald (Tom Augustine)


This isn't a film that has set out to re-invent the wheel and yet works, by virtue of good screenwriting principles. I was taken by how few of these kinds of films we get these days, and how satisfying they can be when done right. (James Croot)


She [Jennifer Lopez] tries gamely, but saddled with one of the worst scripts of the year, this definitely feels closer to her work in Maid in Manhattan than Out of Sight.

The Age (Australia)


The film even has something to say, at least glancingly, about class prejudice in the real world, although in true Hollywood fashion the message is paradoxical.

Los Angeles Times


The movie is all over the place and there is no attempt to weave it into a coherent whole - which is regrettable as scene for scene it often works.

Rolling Stone


When the contrivances get too much in this 'Working Girl' for millennials, just watch take-charge, live-wire Jenny from the block deliver miles of smiles. Sometimes star power is its own reward.

TimeOut (New York)


If only the world saw street smarts as equal to book smarts, Maya wishes on her birthday. It's a nice idea, but Second Act doesn't possess smarts in either category.

New York Times


This is Jenny from the blah.

Variety (USA)


It's got flow, a certain knowing ticky-tackiness about its own contrivances. You know you're watching a connect-the-dots comedy, but the dots sparkle.

Hollywood Reporter


The film seems destined to survive all future nuclear winters, enduring as a time capsule of humanity at its most pitiably pedestrian.