Save yourself 65 minutes and skip the new Jennifer Lopez movie

J.Lo paid $20 million out of her own pocket for her new, semi-autobiographical film, throughout which she insists on proving how human and original she is. But Lopez does not innovate or surprise, and the plot full of clichés moves between astrology, looking for love and a game that borders on parody. Ben Affleck, a lover of the singer, says the line "Who the hell made this shit?", and the viewer has no choice but to agree

Smadar Shiloni|

See the trailer: This Is Me...Now: A Love Story
(Video: Courtesy Amazon Prime)

Even when the (endless) credits roll at the end of Jennifer Lopez's new Amazon Prime movie, "This Is Me...Now: A Love Story," it's still hard to understand what Lopez intended to say. This semi-biographical film, which is a sort of (very) long clip for the new album she released, which bears the same name, was defined by the multi-talented Lopez, stubbornly, as "the most personal thing I've ever created in my life." One cannot help but wonder: What does this actually mean about Lopez, if the deepest thing she managed to pull from the depths of her personality is this lump of psychological kitsch, on which I just burned 65 minutes.
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There is no doubt that Lopez really wants to say something and, more than that, she longs to prove something, and she takes it very, very seriously. This film is another link in Lopez's three-decade attempt to tell us something significant about herself. It was an endless and sweaty journey trying to prove that she is real, human, emotionally aware, original, connected to her roots and a person who develops over the years. Whether it's when she is Jenny from the block, or when she's the strong and successful woman from Halftime, the documentary about her that came out on Netflix two years ago.
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מתוך This Is Me...Now: A Love Story
מתוך This Is Me...Now: A Love Story
Jennifer Lopez in 'This Is Me...Now: A Love Story'
(Photo: Courtesy Amazon Prime)
This time, in the film in which she plays herself, we get it as explicitly as possible: She is a woman who all she wants in life is to be in love (so rare!), who following a romantic heartbreak goes to psychological therapy for years (to the rapper Fat Joe, of all people), and along the way refuses to acknowledge the fact that she is addicted to romantic relationships (and astrology). She skips through a toxic relationship, three weddings that ended in divorce and finally agrees to admit her sad situation. She goes through an incredible process through a dream, in which she returns to the neighborhood and meets herself as a child there. Little J.Lo complains to her grown-up self that she loves everyone but her, and J.Lo cries and tells her she's sorry and asks for her forgiveness. As in fairy tales, everything works out, the film's J.Lo is no longer obsessively looking for a groom, is no longer afraid of being alone and also dances a long dance in the rain, when she befriends a small hummingbird.
Of course, we know that the reality is a little different. Her current album, the first she released in a decade, is a kind of collateral for the third album that Lopez released in 2002, the year she started dating the actor-director-producer Ben Affleck, a relationship that almost led to marriage but in the end didn't. That album was dedicated to Affleck and was inspired by their relationship, and it's called "This is Me.. Then." Two years later Bennifer separated and went on to other relationships where they started families, until in 2021 they reunited again and this time also fulfilled their promise of marriage. If I was able to decipher the complex subtext of the film, it tells the story of Lopez from her first heartbreak (in the first round of Bennifer) to the correction that has come now.
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מתוך This Is Me...Now: A Love Story
מתוך This Is Me...Now: A Love Story
A scene from 'This Is Me...Now: A Love Story'
(Photo: Courtesy Amazon Prime)
Affleck, the man with the charismatic charm, plays two short roles in the film - in the first he is a biker, Lopez's lover, whom she hugs as they ride off into the sunset and shines at the end of the film as well, for another (this time happy) ride on the two-wheeler. In his second role, Affleck plays a news anchor, wearing a blonde wig and even a prosthesis, in a show called "Truth Report." One of his short lines is "Who the hell created this shit," which leaves the viewer no choice but to agree.
The film, which cost Lopez $20 million dollars out of her own pocket, occasionally emerges into puzzling dialogues of the 12 zodiac signs, played by celebrities such as Trevor Noah, Jane Fonda, Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"), Kiki Palmer and others, who express their opinion on J. Lo's romantic and less romantic choices, happy with her joy and sad with her anger.
"This is Me..Now" is of course also lined with performances of songs from the new album, loaded with impressive computer effects and choreographic performances that are very flattering to Lopez, who looks wonderful at age 55.
However, in everything related to an emotion or a meaningful statement, this film is equivalent to a barren and endless argument with a person you know superficially, on a subject that actually doesn't interest you that much. In the end, all that remains is to conclude that Jennifer Lopez may no longer be addicted to romance (though probably still is to astrology) but is addicted to self-exposure. Her album, from the beginning a musically anemic collection of unremarkable songs, fails to breathe life into the film and likewise the direction of Dave Myers, the veteran video clip director. Lopez's acting is on the verge of parody, which makes sense considering the script she co-wrote and is bloated with spirituality and testifies that "loving yourself means never having to say 'I'm lonely.'" Such a shame all the years of Fat Joe therapy didn't help.
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