J Lo’s ‘Second Act’ Inspires Second Chances
Second Act follows Maya de la Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) whose life changes almost overnight after using a doctored resume and online profile to land her dream job on Madison Avenue. The former Queens, NY, big box store assistant manager with a GED suddenly becomes an expert business consultant with a fake Ivy League background. Her new job at a large skin care corporation provides her a new lifestyle and confidantes.
Once she has to keep up with the competitive corporate environment filled with uber-qualified college graduates and researchers, she realizes that she may be in over her head. Coping with her insecurities and guilt, Maya compounds her angst at having to develop a revolutionary new beauty product for the company.
She gets help on her product development mission by way of both new and old friends. Charlyne Yi (“Ariana”), Annaleigh Ashford (“Hildy”), and Leah Remini (“Joan”) deliver outstandingly hilarious performances in guiding Maya through a lavish yet uncertain world completely new to her. The supporting characters almost steal the spotlight with their depth and personality.
Threading her professional life together with strong but wavering confidence while being challenged by backstabbing co-workers and a tear-jerking past, she must also confront her lost and unfolding love. Declaring she didn’t want children cost her the man she loved, Trey, (Milo Ventimiglia), but that was untrue because the 40-year-old already had a child who she had given up for adoption, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens). Her daughter, now a young, competitive corporate type, embraces her mother, Maya, but perhaps too soon.
Although Maya’s professional struggle may seem somewhat contrived, her personal struggle is more relatable for those, especially mothers, who question if they are “not good enough.” Ultimately, we discover through Maya that instincts, or street smarts, are just as effective or significant as book smarts. Her original ideas and endearing personality sends viewers on a rags-to-riches journey that will leave them in state of contentment with a lie that took place in order for the truth to unfold in the most beautiful way. Ironically, Maya winds up finding herself by seeking the truth in a fabricated world.
Second Act is a story of redemption for any woman who seeks or believes that life offers second chances. The movie is inspirational but not memorable, amusing but not funny. Although the plot is somewhat predictable, it remains charming.
On Thursday, J.Lo premiered the music video for “Limitless” from the Second Act soundtrack: