It’s important to acknowledge that fun, simple Hollywood films are just as important as the ones pushing boundaries and breaking barriers.
This one falls into the first of those categories and I think it’s unfair to so critically assess and break down films that just want to make their audiences smile and feel good in a world that is too scary too often.
‘Second Act’ isn’t groundbreaking. But why should that mean it isn’t a great watch?
Jennifer Lopez is really good here, as leading lady Maya. Her and Leah Remini (as close friend Joan) make a wonderfully believable pair of buddies throughout the film, heckling and teasing but always having each other’s back.
Annaleigh Ashford (Hildy) is someone I wish I could have seen more of. She’s essentially Andy’s Emily (from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’)... Showing Maya the ropes in her new position, albeit hilariously deadpan and nonchalant.
There are actually quite a few (not sure if intentional) similarities between this and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. There’s lots of scurrying around the office to stressful, upbeat music... But that’s neither here nor there.
Charlyne Yi deserves a mention for the comedic edge she injected into ‘Second Act’ as a quirky employee in Maya’s building with more to her than meets the eye.
The premise of this film worried me at first; a woman faking her intelligence to triumph in her career. But as the story progressed I realised it wasn’t that simple, and the way the plot evolved and eventually crescendoed was satisfying. The fact that Maya was only able to climb the corporate ladder because she had a impressive fake resume leaves a lot to be desired, but at the same time it does attempt to send a message to employers that degrees and university shouldn't be the only way to reach the top.
Again, there’s nothing new here. But don’t we all need films we can go to the cinema to simply sit back and enjoy? ‘Second Act’ is a perfect contender for a date night film or one to wind down to at the end of a big week.
The cast is wonderful, the storyline is surprisingly lovely (despite a few questionable themes here and there) and it has all the ingredients to make it a reasonable success.