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Non-Review Review: Second Act

In structural terms, Second Act is effectively a romantic comedy. It just hits upon the novelty of stripping out a secondary lead.

Second Act is the story of Maya Vargas, as played by Jennifer Lopez. Maya works as a manager at a local supermarket, where she has found a way to turn the business into a local institution due to her quick-thinking and her understanding of what customers actually want. Maya is grounded, smart and reasonably successful in her chosen field. However, she is also fundamentally unsatisfied. She aspires to something greater than the life that she currently lives, and fate conspires to elevate her through a case of mistaken (or at least obscured) identity.

Streets ahead.

Second Act is a familiar aspiration fantasy, anchored in the idea that personal reinvention is possible through a combination of imagination and insight, that people are capable of transcending their circumstances or their bad luck through a combination of intelligence and commitment. Although Maya only has a single love interest over the course of the film, the boyfriend with which she starts the adventure and who is promptly sidelined, the beats and rhythms of Second Act are taken wholesale from the romantic comedy template.

Perhaps the love affair at the heart of Second Act is Maya learning to properly love herself.

Milo’s to go.

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