Second Act is a touching story which is an ode to not just hard working women, but those who weren’t afforded the opportunity to go to college.
|Written By||Justin Zackham, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas|
|Good If You Like||Feel Good Movies
Films About Women
Slightly Vulgar Comedy
Films Featuring Women Not Heavily About Romance
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Second Act‘s Plot (Ending on 2nd Page)
Maya is a 40-year-old woman who dedicated 15 years of her life to a warehouse store and, 6 years ago, was promoted to assistant manager. She is part of the recent profits have jumped, alongside her friend Joan’s son, Dilly, and so she wants to be manager. Problem is, for some reason, the corporation decides you need a college degree to run a store. Damn in-house experience, hiring from internal, they go with a douche named Arthur with an MBA and who lacks people skills. At least the kind those in Ozone Park appreciate.
But not being appreciated at work isn’t Maya’s only issue. Maya’s boyfriend of 5 years, Trey, is talking about starting a family, asking Joan for some expertise on finding the right ring, and Maya is hiding something which makes her fearful of that. Luckily for her though, Dilly, hearing his godmother complain about life, opportunities for people without degrees, and etc decides to jump-start her life. He sets up internet profiles, her resume, and may have even hacked her references so their calls get redirected to him. The boy covers all his bases.
Thus giving Maya the opportunity to interview at F&C and attempt to fake it till she makes it. Something quite a few don’t plan to make easy. There is Ron, an entitled douche, as well as Zoe. Someone who is a tad bit threatened by Maya since she was brought on to consult on the line Zoe runs. Leading to the very competitive Zoe going head to head with Maya to create the best skin care product as Maya tries to balance her old life and making this new one seem authentic.
An Ode To Those Not College Educated
Whether currently looking for a job or not, there comes the need to question why certain jobs mention having a degree at all? If you have 15 years of experience in anything, what does someone with less than half of that and a degree really have over you? The film shows how ridiculous that is, especially when it comes to people like Maya who didn’t just exist at a job for 15 years, but learned the ropes.
I’m talking about taking note of reports of what sells and what doesn’t. Also, likely having mentors in past managers who taught her terminology and, like how some blue collar jobs still have, basically being an apprentice. The kind who are trained, on the job, for success rather than stuck in a classroom learning theory, and subjects barely related to daily tasks, for 4+ years.
And considering how often people who live in working-class neighborhoods are portrayed, especially when older and don’t have college degrees, you have to admit Second Act is refreshing. For while, yeah, obviously things for someone who looks like Jennifer Lopez, with a kid who can hack people’s phones, creates a need to suspend disbelief, it doesn’t take away from the overall message. Not just disproving your life will be absolutely horrible if you don’t go to college but also the only thing separating most people from grand opportunities is elitism.
Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens
While Maya and Trey’s relationship is cute, it pales in comparison to Maya and Zoe’s. In their relationship, we see something cuter, sweeter, more awe-inspiring than any love interest can bring. For while sisterhood and women being friends, like Joan and Maya, is a beautiful thing to see, so is one generation relating to the next. Setting an example, showing comradery, care, and even if competing, not being an ass****s about it.
There is more to their relationship than that, but that’s on the second page.
Chase and Ariana
While a lot of this movie deals with Maya trying to prove herself, there is some comedy to counterbalance the drama. Part of it is thanks to Chase and Ariana who are two awkward kids that Maya takes to. Ariana is her assistant of sorts and Chase plays a role in helping her get her product made. They, together and apart, are wonderfully weird, especially Ariana, and while not a huge selling point of the film, deserve to be recognized.
The Laughs & Joan
But they aren’t alone in crafting funny moments. Joan is perhaps the big-time deliverer thanks to her cursing, and that of her kids. Yet, she also brings another message into the film. For one could question what is Joan trying to do with her life as Maya revolutionizes hers. Well, the answer is represent the many women who sacrifice for their child so they can do better than them.
It isn’t made clear what hours Joan works, where the children’s father is, or how she affords all she has. Yet, it is clear she makes it work, her kids are loved and fed, and she even makes sure to be there for her friends as well. She is a superwoman of sorts and while she isn’t explicitly called that in the film, if you have someone like that in your life, you’ll recognize them in Joan.
On The Fence
The Plot Is Predictable
While I love the message and relationships the protagonist have, I have to be honest in noting that, maybe ¼ of a way through the film, maybe less, you’ll know how it will end. There are no shocks, twists, and un-tread roads with this film. If you guess it, more than likely you are right on the money or damn near close. Which isn’t frustrating, for it plays out in a way which maintains a sense of being entertaining. Yet, if you are someone who was expecting more or hold all films to a ridiculous standard, you might be disappointed or worse.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing) | Purchase, Rent, Get Tickets, or Merchandise On (Fandango/ Amazon)
Second Act is a nice feel-good movie. It features an ode to the working class who know they deserve better, and perhaps a bit of a critique to the demand for college degrees. Especially for those who are older and experienced, but lack a piece of paper saying they sat in a room, or at their computer, for a set amount of time and took this many classes. Leading to why the positive label: For those who want to see something new, which is light, cute, but not Christmasy, this is for you. It has characters you’ll instantly love, some shallow ones you’ll hate, and multiple moments which might be predictable, but can still touch your heart.
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