Sign up for email alerts from The Monitor | Diocese of Trenton
The Monitor | Diocese of Trenton, NJ  
Advanced Search


home : features : arts & media January 15, 2019


1/9/2019
Second Act

By Kurt Jensen | Catholic News Service

NEW YORK – The appealing workplace comedy "Second Act" (STX) which posits that street smarts should rate at least as highly as an educational pedigree, is not so much #Metoo as #Whynotme.

Director Peter Segal and screenwriters Justin Zackham and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas have turned the plucky old formula sideways. As a result, their heroine, Maya (Jennifer Lopez), is not facing predations such as sexual harassment or a phalanx of poisonous, scheming co-workers, but rather dealing with crises rooted in self-confidence and her difficult past.

Maya is an imaginative assistant manager at a big-box store in Queens. She has a deft touch when it comes to knowing how women actually decide to purchase cosmetics and skin-care products.

But she's held back by her lack of formal education. She only has a GED, and, stuck in her job at age 40, is passed over for the promotion she wants by an uncaring corporate management which only sees her as an able "lieutenant."

She has a caring boyfriend in Trey (Milo Ventimiglia), a college baseball coach. Unexpected professional support comes in the form of Dilly (Dalton Harrod), the college-student son of Maya's best friend, Joan (Leah Remini), who is also Maya's godson.

He's a social media whiz who, entirely on his own initiative, invents a new resume for Maya, which includes a Harvard degree and a stint in the Peace Corps, as well as a new Facebook presence for her.

Maya doesn't learn of this until she gets an interview offer from a Manhattan cosmetics firm headed by Anderson (Treat Williams). This sends her into the land of glass office towers on Madison Avenue, costly new power wardrobes and lush expense accounts.

Anderson has installed his daughter, Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens), as an executive, and at first, she and Maya are bitter interoffice rivals. Their vying intensifies when Anderson sets them up on competing teams to produce a new organic skin-care line.

For a long time, no one tries to pry too deeply into Maya's tricked-up CV, but she holds some other deep secrets, too. These include having been a single mother who gave birth to a daughter at 17 and later put the girl up for adoption.

Deceptions pile up, as the plot formula dictates, until everyone finds ways to reveal their own truths, gain emotional release and make their lives better as a result.

There are no elements strictly precluding mature adolescents as an audience, although "Second Act" is clearly aimed at mature women who might find inspiration in Maya's journey.

The film contains references to sexual activity and an out-of-wedlock birth and some crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.






Subscription Login
LOGIN | SUBSCRIBE

From the Bishop
Pope Francis







ACA_2018_WebAd_bottom_12.5x2_WEB.jpg

The Monitor, 701 Lawrenceville Road, P.O. Box 5147, Trenton, NJ 08638-0147 | PHONE: 609-406-7404 | FAX: 609-406-7423 | Monitor@DioceseofTrenton.org

Copyright © 2019 | TrentonMonitor.com | All Rights Reserved.
Any use of materials on this website, including reproduction, modification or distribution without the prior written consent of the Diocese of Trenton is strictly prohibited.

Software © 1998-2019 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved