Have we traded the rom-com for the buddy comedy? Where we once had women banding together to ensnare a man (think: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, a classic) we now have women reveling in each other’s company (Bridesmaids, Girls Trip, Bad Moms). This isn’t a hard and fast rule of course – there will always be romance in movies, but cut-and-dry rom-coms are few and far between.
And that doesn’t just apply to women. Seth Rogen and James Franco are movie buddies. Superhero ensembles need chemistry and comraderie. And when those actors get along in real life, too (like the Avengers), it makes the movie more fun, doesn’t it?
That’s why I’m into the newly announced Jennifer Lopez/Leah Remini project, Second Act. The premise: Lopez is a big box employee from Queens who goes through a lifestyle reinvention to prove herself on Madison Avenue. Leah Remini is her colleague/friend. It’s being billed as a romantic comedy (and the release mentions Maid in Manhattan) but you know what’s interesting? No mention of a male lead. Instead, it’s being billed a vehicle for Lopez and her very good friend, Leah.
This I like. And I like that there is no dispute about who is the star and who is the supporting act.
Jennifer is Lucy. She knows she is Lucy. JLo has not been a star for 20 years to pretend to be a supporting player in her own career. But that doesn’t mean Ethel isn’t important. Ethel is the one who frames Lucy’s genius. And as a long-standing comedic actress, Leah knows what her role is: to be funny. And perhaps more important, to allow Jennifer to be funny.