Second Act (2018)

I may have mentioned it before, but it’s not all giallo and gore in our house. Oh how I wish that it were, but then we wouldn’t have these wildly diverse movie reviews or my wife filming me getting misty-eyed when heroines triumph against the odds. Dammit, I get wrapped up in movies!

What did I learn from this one? Well, Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) is the assistant manager at the Value Shop and knows how to do her job better than anyone, no matter how rich, powerful or educated they are. But because she’s from the block and not the Ivy League, she’s never going to get a fair shake. That’s why her friend Joan (Leah Remini, so obviously has no interest in keeping Sea Org happy by casting her) gets her hacker son Dilly to make a whole new identity for Maya and get her to start a new career. A Second Act, if you will.

Everything here works out as you knew it would: Maya’s rival Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens) ends up being her daughter that she gave up at birth. She ends up getting back with her man. And she ends up telling the truth and starting her own business with her friends that shops for moms.

I was kind of shocked to see Dave Foley and Larry Miller in this, so it’s always a treat to see them in anything. And I really liked Charlyne Yi in her small role. She added something special to just about every second she was on screen.

This piece of fluff was brought to you by Peter Segal, who was also behind plenty of Adam Sandler movies, Tommy Boy and Get Smart. Julia Roberts was the original star, which means I would have put up more of a fight about watching this.

Amazingly, the store this was shot at was a Long Island City store called Food Bazaar, which was not closed while they shot the film. It looks like a gigantic old-style place with little restaurants within one big location, kind of like Kaufmann’s was downtown. I totally realize that if you’re not from Pittsburgh, you won’t get that reference.

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