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The Romantic Comedies of Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan, Romantic Comedies

A few years back, actress Jennifer Lopez decided she wanted to be the next Julia Roberts. She made her claim to fame playing superstar Selena in the singers biopic, and followed that up with a few “tough chick” and “tough female cop” roles. Of course, most of this was overshadowed by her love life and, to put it nicely, her shapely backside. However, somewhere down the line comedy started to appeal for her, and with that came a string of romantic comedies.

My biggest gripe with Jennifer Lopez starring in these types of movies is that she rarely has chemistry with her co-stars, which is odd considering her role alongside George Clooney in Out of Sight is considered by many to be one of the most sizzling on screen couples ever. Her first foray into romantic comedies was The Wedding Planner in 2001, which also starred Matthew McConaughey. Jennifer played Mary Fiore, a wedding planner with no love life of her own, who quickly fell for one of her grooms. Things started on a good note; I will admit, I quite liked this movie and all it’s fluffy qualities. I also enjoyed the pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, although I had a hard time imagining them as a real couple.

After The Wedding Planner the films went down a notch. Maid in Manhattan was released the next year. This time, Jennifer played a maid who fell in love with one of her guests. Why does it sound like these films are starting to fit a fill in the blank template? The movie looked promising, but failed to deliver. The plot was weak, and was actually another modern day, urbanized take on Cinderella, which has been done ad nauseam. Her co-star for this film was Ralph Fiennes, who rarely stars in movies of this sort. Zero chemistry between the two.

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Next for Ms. Lopez was a set of Kevin Smith directed films, starring her then fiancée Ben Affleck. Gigli came in 2003 and Jersey Girl the following year. Let me just be honest here; I didn’t waste my time watching Gigli. The movie quickly fizzled at the box office, as did Jennifer’s relationship with Ben Affleck. Because of the extreme negative press, Kevin Smith scaled down Lopez’s role in Jersey Girl. I found that movie to be somewhat enjoyable, but it can’t be considered as a Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy, considering she’s only in the first ten minutes of the film.

Late 2004 Jennifer Lopez starred with Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in Shall We Dance, a remake of a Japanese film by the same name. This time Lopez played a ballroom dance instructor, but instead of falling in love with her co-star, she helped him bring some spice back into his marriage. Since I didn’t take the time to see this one, I can’t comment on the chemistry between the two. The critics were much kinder to this movie than her previous romantic comedies, and I’m not only referring to Gigli.

I did give the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy one last shot with Monster In Law, which was released last year. This time around, her main onscreen co-star was not her love interest, played by Michael Vartan, but actress Jane Fonda who played her mother in law to be. This movie was, once again, fluffy and somewhat enjoyable with a few laughs. The movie overall lacked a plot and focused on a string of outrageous hi-jinks and dream sequences. And, once again, Jennifer failed to have any connection with her love interest. I get it now, and I give up.

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Jennifer Lopez did release one underappreciated film after Monster In Law, but for the most part the actress seems to be lying low for a while. The verdict is still out on whether I will continue to be sucked into her addicting romantic comedies in the future. My guess is I won’t have the power to resist.