Second Act begins by introducing us to Maya, her boyfriend, Trey, and her friends and coworkers at the local Value Mart. Maya has been working there for several years, has come up with several customer-pleasing projects, and just put in for a manager position. The head honcho loves Maya’s work, compliments her, but instead decides to bring in a younger outside hire who has just finished up his MBA degree. Frustrated, Maya vents to her best friend, Joan, and Joan’s son.
Joan’s son creates a fictitious life online for Maya, and submits her fake resume for several big business consulting jobs. She gets hired for one and enthusiastically quits her current position. She then has to maintain the ruse as she tackles creating a new cosmetic cream for her new company with the help of their B team. Oh, and there’s a bit about how the owner of the new company actually hired her because his adopted daughter is her real daughter. Hijinks ensue.
The movie is directed by Peter Segal, and it is perfectly fine for a movie of this type. It’s not quite a rom-com, it’s more of a self-realization comedy. It’s well done, and the cast is terrific.
- Jennifer Lopez is in full Jenny-from-the-block mode as Maya, a woman who just wants to be recognized for the hard work she has already done and the capabilities she has rather than for the piece of paper she does not have. She’s suited for this type of character, and does a great job.
- Vanessa Hudgens plays Zoe, the adopted daughter of the new boss who is actually Maya’s real daughter that she gave up for adoption years ago. They have some sweet moments of getting to know one another. Hudgens is far less annoying here than she is as a judge on SYTYCD.
- Leah Remini is great friends with Jennifer Lopez in real life, and that really shows through here. I think it is key to the relationship, and makes those scenes have more intensity than they would have elsewise. She is very funny, and really steals the scenes she’s in.
- Treat Williams plays Anderson Clarke, the new boss who has actually been looking for Maya and is super excited to be able to hire her as a consultant. He makes it through the whole movie being jovial and supportive of his team.
- Milo Ventimiglia plays Trey, who is only focused on baseball and having babies. Really – his character does not have much depth, but that’s fine, he doesn’t need it here.
- Charleyne Yi plays Maya’s new assistant Ariana. She’s quiet and put upon, but has some good ideas once listened to.
- Alan Aisenberg plays Chase, another member of Maya’s team, there to help to get things done when needed.
- Dave Foley shows up as the competitive make-up-scientist who leads the opposing team.
- Larry Miller plays the head honcho from Value Mart who does not give Maya her promotion.
Overall, the movie is fun and simple, and perfectly fine for a quick weekend watch in January. I will say, I was disappointed in the end of the movie – spoiler alert – Maya and Trey broke up at the beginning because he was insisting on a family and she was not ready. The hell with this dude insisting on kids if she doesn’t want them. At the end, they get back together because he is still insisting on a family and she says she is now ready – admittedly, a lot of her ‘not-readiness’ came from some unresolved issues about having to give her baby up for adoption years ago and not telling him, and by the end of the movie, she’s resolved those issues. I’ve said this before, but just once I’d love one of these movies to allow the lead to end up single and happy.
5 out of 10. Perfectly average.