Jennifer Lopez, also colloquially known as J-Lo and ‘Jenny from the Block’, has been gracing our screens with swoon-worthy content for more than twenty years.
She hit her peak of Romantic Comedies in the early 2000’s, the first time low rise jeans were In (which should have been the last time), while also releasing the hit songs we know and love. If you think I’m not singing ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ while writing this, then you’re sorely mistaken.
Year after year she brought out wholesome and hilarious films about finding love, keeping love, and love gone wrong. While our beloved J-Lo did go quiet for some time, leaving us yearning for a fix, she is back in 2022 for another rom com filled with drama and unexpected love. ‘Marry Me’ (also starring Owen Wilson) is set to be released just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Is there a better way to celebrate J-Lo’s return to the big screen, than binging all of her rom coms classics? I re-watched all J-Lo’s rom coms and ranked them best to even better!
5. Second Act
This is the only film from the list I had never seen, and also never heard of. So, I was delightfully surprised to find myself laughing, gasping in shock, and tearing up just a little bit. Maya (J-Lo) is a hard-working woman who, despite her years of experience and street smarts, wishes she had the college education she needs to move up in the world. Thanks to her tech savvy godson, she finds herself working for a corporate firm under the pretence that she has all the best qualifications. She has to keep up with the lie while the rest of her world changes dramatically around her.
While this one is full of laughs due to the dynamic between Maya and her friend Joan (Leah Remini), the love interest Trey (Milo Ventimiglia) is more of a side story to the unexpected familial love that appears halfway through the film (cue gasps of shock).
A wholesome film more about second chances and self-acceptance than finding Mr. Right (she already had him).
Where to watch: Rent or buy on Google Play or Apple TV
4. The Back Up Plan
This is one that vaguely prodded my memories of films long-since watched, I knew I had seen it but couldn’t remember it. Watching it again, I can understand why I forgot it. The Back Up Plan is about a single woman (J-Lo of course) who decides to be artificially inseminated, not willing to wait around for a man to get what she wants. Little does she know; she meets the man of her dreams the same day as the procedure. They are both thrown into the world of prams, cute little onesies, and raging hormones.
While this film highlights the comedic side to pregnancy, and has a leading man with a six pack that could make anyone crash their car, it’s fun but forgettable in comparison to her other lead roles.
Where to watch: Rent or buy on Google Play or Apple TV
3. Maid in Manhattan
Ralph Fiennes is not known for his rom com roles, but it was nice to see him out of black robes and with a functioning nose. He plays an utterly charming politician running for senate who attends charity balls and loves to walk his adorable dog. It’s no wonder J-Lo’s character, Marisa, falls for him. A story about a strong and hardworking single mum crossing the class divide and using her voice to break the harmful stereotype of POC, and she does it in the most fabulous Dolce & Gabbana all white outfit. Marisa wants more than society confines her to, and thanks to her friends, family, and the late Natasha Richardson’s expensive clothes, she gets it!
Where to watch: Stream on Stan
I know this is not everyone’s favourite but what it lacks in on screen romance it makes up for in comedy and entertainment. Charlotte meets handsome and charming Dr. Kevin Fields in a series of seemingly fated encounters, so of course it has to be true love. Their relationship escalates rapidly when after a few months they are engaged, to the chagrin of Kevin’s mother, Viola fields, played by none other than the fabulous Jane Fonda. Most of the film is a battle for Kevin (who disappears for a chunk of the movie) between Charlotte and Viola.
There were so many hilarious moments in this film that made me laugh out loud. Viola greeting Charlotte for the first time in a ridiculously over the top outfit made for a day at the races, Charlotte bringing in the dogs as back up, and Viola talking through the entirety of Halloween in traditional garb gifted by the Dalai Lama (which is every mum ever…maybe minus the outfit). When the love is true, no obstacles can get in its way, including psychotic mother-in-law’s.
Where to watch: stream on Netflix or Paramount+
1. The Wedding Planner
As an Italian Australian woman, I was always offended by Massimo’s ‘Italian’ accent, but I can’t help but call this my favourite of all of J-Lo’s rom coms. I’ve thought about this, and it has everything you need in a rom com; a swoon worthy love interest, meddling friends and family, secrets and drama to raise the stakes, characters with heart and personality, and the perfect ratio of romance and comedy.
J-Lo plays a type-A wedding planner obsessed with love but lacking it, Mathew McConaughey plays the charming and confused paediatric Doctor who unknowingly hires her to plan the wedding he clearly doesn’t want. Romance, chaos, and comedy ensue. It teaches the age-old moral of following your heart, and to always carry around a first aid kit in your purse, glue remover not optional.
Where to watch: Stream on Binge