We’ve been waiting for Second Act to hit theaters since learning that Jennifer Lopez was going to share the big screen with her BFF Leah Remini and This Is Us heartthrob, Milo Ventimiglia. In a time when the movie theater is filled with beautifully-made true stories about our nation’s history — like Green Book and Vice — we find ourselves craving the fun and empowering, female-lead movies of the late ’90s and early 2000s. Jennifer, along with screenwriters Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas & Justin Zackham, longtime manager and producer Benny Medina, and director Peter Segal fought for years to bring Second Act to the big screen, working hard to convince production companies that there was still a place in audience’s hearts for rom-coms. Boy, were they right. Packed with humor, friendship, romance, empowerment and lessons learned, Second Act delivers the uplifting movie we’ve been waiting for.
Second Act follows Maya Vargas, a Queens grocery store employee who is fighting for a promotion, right around her 43rd birthday. When she ends up disappointed, losing the position to a college-educated candidate, her godson takes matters into his own hands and uses his millennial smarts to apply Maya for high-ranking jobs in NYC with a fake resume. Maya nabs a position as a consultant with a cosmetics giant, based on her resume that claims she was a Harvard grad, member of the Peace Corp and Estée Lauder employee. So of course, she has to pretend to be all those things, while also proving that she is qualified with the experience we know she has. At her first day on the job, Maya butts heads with her new rival, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens), and the pair are challenged to see which lady can create a profitable, all-organic skin product in the next four months.
While things are looking up for Maya in the working world, she is struggling in her love life, as her near-perfect boyfriend Trey (Milo Ventimiglia), breaks up with her, as he is ready to get married and start a family, and she has her reasons for why she is not. It’s revealed that Maya was pregnant at 16 and gave up her daughter, Sarah, for adoption and has never been able to forgive herself, nor tell her longterm boyfriend about what happened. Her BFF, Joan, played by the hysterical Leah Remini, pushes Maya to tell Trey the truth as she visits Maya at her new Soho apartment, owned by the company. And instead, they go shopping at Barney’s on the business’s dime — a cure for all things, especially heartbreak.
After a key development (which we won’t spoil here), Zoe and Maya join forces and work together, creating their separate products while supporting each other through it. Second Act explores not only the importance of female friendship and support, but also the love of self. We see Maya go from doubting society’s view of book smarts vs. street smarts, to doubting herself and her own worth, to then rising above the insecurities and flourishing — just like Jennifer’s song from the soundtrack, “Limitless,” preaches.
So, grab your mom, your grandma, and your best girlfriends and hit the movie theaters this weekend to see Second Act. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will feel limitless.