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Arty Chick’s Seven Picks: Week 10

This week is heavy on movies about couples. They include rom-coms and complicated relationship stories, and the characters range from criminals to musicians to politicians, from kings to bakers. The genres include classic dramas, and film noir, and brilliant satire. And there’s a good dollop of sex, for good measure.

They’re mostly from the 80s and 90s, though one is from the 60s. And something they all (except one) have in common is that they were nominated for a lot of Oscars, and won quite a few.

 

The films are: Moonstruck, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Body Heat, Nashville, Out of Sight, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The Lion in Winter

Review: Hustlers

Can/will Hustlers appeal to both men and women? I’m not sure. It’s a film about friendship and sisterhood, payback and… pole dancing. A stimulating crime drama served up with a side of T&A. And yes, it’s a perfect vehicle for Jennifer Lopez (Second Act, Maid in Manhattan) to showcase her assets. Does her performance live up to all the hype about a potential Oscar nom? I wouldn’t go that far – at least not yet. It’s way too early in awards season, with many strong movies and performances likely to emerge. Lopez does work the pole – and the drama – with a tremendous amount of flexibility and flair. But Hustlers itself is not an OSCAR movie. It’s like The Wolf of Wall Street meets Striptease (Demi Moore worked the pole in that rather forgettable flick from 1996). Hustlers includes the standard elements of most ‘true crime’ dramas: Money. Greed. Sex. Drugs. Excess. Revenge. Friendship. Betrayal. It also has shades of Magic Mike, i.e. there’s more to the movie than meets the eye(candy). The main characters have some depth.

Quickie Review: Second Act

Second Act is a predictable, formulaic, contrived, fine but forgettable dramedy that pales in comparison to J-Lo gems like Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner or even The Back-up Plan. If you go into Second Act expecting a fun, endearing ‘romantic comedy’ featuring Jennifer Lopez and Milo “Jack from This Is Us” Ventimiglia, you may be doubly disappointed. The romance is secondary to a larger story about life choices and female empowerment. That’s all well and good, but it puts poor Milo to waste.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

I wasn’t expecting much from What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and it’s a good thing because this movie really doesn’t deliver. It’s one of those movies that suffers from too many plot lines and too many stars — Jennifer Lopez, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Chace Crawford, just to name a few. Based loosely on the best-selling pregnancy manual, the movie focuses on five couples who are expecting. Four of them are in Atlanta and one is in Los Angeles but of course they are all somehow connected. (Frankly, we could have done without at least two of the couples.) Throw in the gang of park-walking dudes/daddy support group led by Rock and it’s all just too much going on.

The Back-up Plan

If you liked Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner or Maid in Manhattan, then you’ll surely like The Back-up Plan. It follows a satisfying romantic comedy formula, even if it doesn’t offer up anything terribly exciting and new. It’s sweet, has moments that any single, married, or relationship-challenged adult should be able to identify with, cringe at, and laugh at. And it features a really cute leading man in Alex O’Loughlin.