Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. USA, 2018. STX Entertainment. Screenplay by Justin Zackham, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. Cinematography by Ueli Steiger. Produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Jennifer Lopez, Benny Medina, Justin Zackham. Music by Michael Andrews. Production Design by Richard Hoover. Costume Design by Molly Rogers. Film Editing by Jason Gourson.
Jennifer Lopez returns to a starring role for the first time in three years as yet another bridge-and-tunnel girl trying to make it in a cruel Manhattan world. After years working the floor of a Walmart-esque retail store, she proposes a business project for management in the hopes of getting a promotion, but sees her dreams fade when they choose a less appealing candidate (Dan Bucatinsky) who has the right degrees on his resume. Sick of the unfair advantages given to people with better backgrounds than hers, she decides to go for broke when her rascally godson creates a fake website, pads her resume and submits her to be interviewed for a high-profile position at a Madison Avenue cosmetics firm. Terrified of being found out but desperate to do something other than the same boring job she’s had for years, Lopez sees this as her one chance to really try for something better, hopeful despite the toll it takes on her relationship with her hunky boyfriend (Milo Ventimiglia). The script is basically a pale imitation of Working Girl, which Lopez already did with Maid In Manhattan many years earlier, but this time adds a ton of random elements that, instead of enriching the familiar as I’m sure they meant to do, feel so random as to practically be psychotic: children reunited with long-lost mothers, an office contest to create the best beauty cream, a Greek chorus of trashy best friends from Queens who provide goofy humour, a few moments of slapstick physical jokes, tender moments of turgid drama and then that tired romantic comedy cliche of a climax, the public confession. The cast seem blissfully unaware of how fast this ship is sinking and all the better for them, Treat Williams is delightful as the amiable CEO who is behind his new employee all the way, Vanessa Hudgens gives it her best shot of sincerity as the most confusingly written character in the piece and Leah Rimini outshines them all as our heroine’s cuss-happy best friend (the two are pals in real life and their chemistry pays off). Lopez follows the plot’s crazy changes in strategy with such athletic prowess that it strikes one as both impressive and worrisome, like watching someone run a marathon and wondering when their heart will give out, but despite her commitment to the role, it all just feels so cheap.