Second Act

First Hit: Although very out-loud funny at times, the film seemed pressed to make a point.

Girl who’s had a hard life, is smart, but doesn’t get promoted because of her lack of education is the basis for this film.

Maya (Jennifer Lopez) has worked at a department store for years. She believes she’s up for promotion to be store manager. When the head of the company Weiskopf (Larry Miller) selects another candidate, a male who has an Ivy League degree, she’s pissed. Complaining to her closest friend Joan (Leah Remini), she talks about how unfair it is that her 18 years of experience don’t count.

As we learn from this conversation and others with her boyfriend Trey (Milo Ventimiglia) that Maya’s had a hard life. She bore a child at age 16, was homeless, never graduated from high school, and had to give up her child for adoption.

She’s sad about her hard life but doesn’t stop trying to make her life better. Joan’s older son decides to assist Maya by creating a new online profile filled with lies. She went to business school at Warton, speaks Mandarin, was coxswain on a Harvard rowing team. She also graduated summa cum laude. This impressive resume gets her an interview with Anderson Clarke (Treat Williams) for a consulting position at his large corporation.

He interviews Maya and hires her despite the objection of his daughter Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens). To earn her place in the company, Zoe challenges Maya to create a better product line than a line she can create.

Maya’s team consists of Hildy (Annaleigh Ashford), Ariana (Charlyne Yi) and Ron Ebsen (Freddie Stroma). Although Hildy drops out of the team, Ariana and Ron help to create success.

Many of the scenes are telegraphed as is the storyline. There are some very funny scenes, think kitchen dance with Otto (John James Cronin) leading the way. That’s on top of some snappy dialogue between Joan and Maya.

Lopez is good as Maya. She brings enough street smarts to the role to make it believable. Hudgens was good as Zoe. Her intimate discussions with Maya about their past were well done. Remini was excellent as the girlfriend. Her quips and spicy language made the story and film better. Williams was very good as the company owner. Ventimiglia was strong as the boyfriend coach who wants to get and stay close to Maya. Yi was excellent as the shy but kinky assistant. Stroma was very good as the creative leading scientist on Maya’s team. Justin Zackham and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas wrote a predictable story. Peter Segal directed this film and he created an obviousness with this story that took all the suspense out of it, however, some of the funny scenes were out-loud funny.

Overall: The film was telegraphed all the way through and over acted.