The Back-Up Plan parents guide

The Back-Up Plan Parent Guide

The lad couple is hard to feel empathy for, especially Zoe.

Overall D+

Zoe's (Jennifer Lopez) biggest dream is to have a baby. But she still hasn't found The One, so getting married first isn't an option. Takings matters into her own hands she gets pregnant by artificial insemination. And that's when Mr. Right (Alex O'Loughlin) shows up.

Release date April 23, 2010

Violence B+
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is The Back-Up Plan rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Back-Up Plan PG-13 for sexual content including references, some crude material and language.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) wants a baby!

Unfortunately she is missing an essential element for the process—a man. Without any indication of The One on her horizon, she asks Clive (Eric Christian Olsen), her employee at the pet shop, if he will father her child. (It’s a request that smacks of sexual harassment.) After he refuses, she decides to forgo the traditional sequence of events—find a man, fall in love, get married, have a baby—and checks herself into a medical clinic for artificial insemination.

Then on the way home from her procedure, Zoe meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) after both of them climb into the same cab during a downpour. While their initial encounter isn’t necessarily love at first sight, the destined-to-be-together couple runs into one another again when Zoe goes to the farmers’ market with her sister Mona (Michaela Watkins) and sees Stan selling cheese. Later he shows up at the pet store for a book signing.

By the following weekend, Zoe is driving out to his farm where the two of them take a roll in the hay in the cheese barn (minus nudity but complete with sexual sounds and discussion). Then and there Zoe decides to admit she is pregnant. It is a bit of a shock for Stan to find out there is already a baby involved in this budding relationship. And for the two of them, the impending birth adds some additional strain to their romance.

This pair is hard to feel empathy for, especially Zoe. On one hand the pet shop owner says she is ready for the challenge of a baby and the lifetime of parenting that follows. But she is antsy about staying with Stan or placing any kind of trust in him. The premise results in not one or two, but several scenes where Zoe and Stan break up only to get back together without any indication that either of them have changed for the better.

Zoe’s single mother group is made up of equally extreme or underdeveloped characters. One of the pregnant women (Maribeth Monroe) insists that Zoe attend the natural birth of her baby. (The scene contains plenty of screaming, primal drumming, chanting and excrement jokes.)

The script also provides little motivation for Zoe’s maternal desires. It seems that every parent in this story is hassled, harried and fed up with their parental duties while every child is out of control. It is no wonder that Stan has reservations.

The screenplay contains other content concerns as well. Zoe consumes alcohol with dinner although she suspects she might be pregnant. The dialogue includes some strong crude sexual terms, a rude homosexual comment, frequent sexual innuendos and bowel-related jokes. Audiences also see Zoe’s bare buttocks and numerous portrayals of Stan and Zoe in bed together.

Rather than having The Back-up Plan in place, Zoe appears to be winging it one day at a time. And with less than nine months until the baby arrives, her difficulty with making commitments comes at a time when it seems she should be seriously thinking about her imminent responsibilities and who she wants to share them with.

Directed by Alan Poul. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release April 23, 2010. Updated

The Back-Up Plan
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Back-Up Plan rated PG-13? The Back-Up Plan is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content including references, some crude material and language.

This script contains frequent uses of anatomical and other medical terms related to pregnancy. It also contains slang terms for body parts, a strong sexual expletive and a couple of strong sexual slang terms along with numerous profanities, scatological slang terms, frequent sexual innuendo and slurs. Sperm donation and other medical procedures are discussed. The movie includes non-graphic depictions of violence including characters verbally fighting. Elderly characters slip and fall to the floor. A woman aggressively attempts to take something out of a dog’s mouth. A woman screams repeatedly during childbirth. A character is offended by a mother nursing an older toddler (no nudity is seen). A couple engages in sex: the depictions include no explicit nudity, however the scene contains strong sexual sounds and other references to female pleasures. A woman drinks alcohol during the early stages of pregnancy. Social drinking is shown in other situations.

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More parents' guide for The Back-Up Plan after the break...

The Back-Up Plan Parents' Guide

Although Stan is willing to engage in sexual activity with Zoe after knowing her for only a short time, he seems irritated when he discovers she is pregnant. He is also upset by her lies, but not by his. Does this seem to be a double standard for behavior?

Do you think Zoe’s desire for a baby is a selfish one or not? Is her concern about being alone a sufficient reason to have a child? What aspects of being a mother does Zoe seem to have overlooked?

Does the portrayal of parents in this movie trivialize their role?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Back-Up Plan movie is August 24, 2010. Here are some details…

The Back-up Plan releases to Blu-ray on August 24, 2010. The disc includes the following bonus materials:

- Deleted scenes

- Featurette: Belly Laughs: Making The Back-up Plan

Related home video titles:

Jennifer Lopez plays a Wedding Planner who is forever orchestrating nuptials but can’t find a man to walk down the aisle with herself. She also stars as a woman who tries to reconnect with her estranged father-in-law after the death of her husband in An Unfinished Life.