Am I The Only One Who Loves … Second Act?

In her new column for Talkhouse, Anna Roisman kicks off a passionate defense of unappreciated movies with this 2018 J.Lo gem.

We were recently blessed with the Hustlers movie trailer, which made a lot of people remember how brilliant Jennifer Lopez is as an actress, aside from looking 27 at age 50. For me, it sparked memories of the groundbreaking performance from J.Lo that we were gifted with this past Christmas. I’m talking about Second Act, a movie that deserved four more acts. Trust me on this, not the misinformed internet!

From the moment its trailer came out, Second Act seemed promising. A shy woman who works in a grocery store in Queens steps foot in New York City and lies her way to the top of a company and quickly becomes a rich successful confident business woman? Brilliant. A competitive relationship between two women who just so happen to be mother and daughter but don’t learn about this info until two thirds of the way through the movie? Exhilarating. A businessman looking for his adopted daughter’s birth mother but because she went to Harvard he decides to basically let her run his company and forget about the whole family connection thing? Scandalous! Plus, our wedding cake topping here is J.Lo and Milo Ventimiglia … and in a word, they’re hot. (I would put them as the topper on my own wedding cake.)

If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of storylines for one movie,” you’re right! It’s very advanced. If you are also thinking, “I didn’t even know this was a movie out in theaters, wasn’t it just streaming somewhere?” All I can say is I’m sorry you missed this iconic moment in American cinema. I’m baffled how anyone could have missed Second Act at the theater. There was only a new Spider-Man movie in theaters that week, and no one actually goes and sees Spider-Man movies, right? The real MCU stands for “Milo Can Undress.” The plot may be a little confusing, but so was Game of Thrones and that’s how we know it’s a piece of entertainment we must talk about.

A highlight from this movie is the friendship between J.Lo and Leah Remini. The reason it’s so real and honest is because they’re actual best friends in real life! They met right before Remini left Scientology, which teaches us all a valuable lesson: Scientology creates meaningful friendships! (No really, I used their bathroom once and then someone from the Church followed me on Instagram. I swear!) But back to Second Act (the real religious experience we’re talking about today), these women make you want a best friend to help you lie in life! Leah Remini is so funny and witty that it makes you wonder why she has been hiding in TV shows for so long. I am still crossing my fingers for Third Act, where Leah Remini takes over and we find out they’re actually half sisters but the only reason we find that information out is because they’re left a zoo in the will of their recently deceased father. Who knows? We’ve seen more bizarre sequels.

The other relationship in this movie that really gives you a lot of feels is the one between J.Lo and Vanessa Hudgens (whom I will now refer to as “V.Hudge” in this piece and moving forward in life). V.Hudge’s dad is the CEO of a big beauty company and he decides to find the birth mother of his daughter (V.Hudge) and it just so happens to be J.Lo. But, when he finds out J.Lo is a super smarty pants who went to Harvard and has a dynamite (fake) resume, he decides to just hire her and not tell her that his daughter is her daughter. Most of the movie is spent seeing these two women interact on a very competitive level, to the point where you just don’t want them in a room together! But what a smart setup! Because we find out within minutes that they are mother and daughter. They instantly act like best friends who love to run. They have running in common! So cute and 2019, right? Then all of a sudden, this ambitious film turns into a dramatic Terms of Endearment (for like 15 minutes) … because the lie comes out. V.Hudge is done, because she wanted a smart mommy, not a lying mommy! After J.Lo leaves the company and time goes by, the two women reconnect with their mutual love for – you guessed it – running! [SPOILER ALERT] The movie ends with them running … running to the end of the world? Running to get ice cream? Running to train for the Olympics? We may never know, but that’s art, baby.

J.Lo and Anna Roisman both rocking the “poker-straight, shoulder-length lob” look

I saved the best for last because it deserves to be the finale of this piece. Second Act teaches us a lot about how lies actually can get you places and maybe it’s OK to be less truthful … but it also gives us a professional lesson in hair care. J.Lo is a woman of many hairstyles, but the hair in this movie was an upgrade, in my opinion. A flat iron should be making residuals off this film. The poker-straight, shoulder-length lob (lob = long bob, as we’ve coined) made me go home and get on the internet to order a flat iron. There is not a dull moment for that hair, even when she’s running! It’s perfection through and through and is probably meant to symbolize the entire movie. The movie has a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I’m pretty sure that was meant to measure humidity surrounding J.Lo’s hair because this movie delivers! If you missed it the first time around, you have a second shot at bettering your life because it’s streaming now! Run, don’t walk!

Anna Roisman is a comedian, writer, actor, creator, producer, and host in NYC. Anna is the host of HQ Words, a word puzzle game from the creators of HQ Trivia. Anna’s work has been featured in the Tribeca Film Festival, New York TV Festival, Just For Laughs in Montreal, People magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Funny Or Die, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and more. She is the creator of The Unemployed Show and co-producer and host of Quickie Fest: The One Minute Movie Festival in NYC. Anna hosts the live comedy shows, “Revival” and “Fashion Puhleeze,” and sings with The Losers Lounge at Joe’s Pub & City Winery. For reels, press, and information, check out AnnaRoisman.com.