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Jennifer Lopez ’s Rom Coms Ranked from Worst to Best






Jennifer Lopez ’s Rom Coms Ranked from Worst to Best

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With Marry Me having just come out this month, here are Jennifer Lopez ’s Rom Coms ranked from worst to best.


Jennifer Lopez is a trailblazer for Latinx representation in many ways; her best-known effort is her work in the Rom-Com genre. While most of these rom-coms aren’t loved by critics, most of her films are loads of fun, one way or another. With the exception of Selena and Hustlers, Lopez hasn’t been known as a serious actress, mainly because of the stigma people have over the comedy genre as a whole. With having these films ranked, my hope is that people can recognize not only Lopez’s contribution to the Rom-Com genre but also how she was able to be the first Latina to be consistently in leading romantic roles for over two decades. 


9. GIGLI

(2003)

Director: Martin Breast

loud and clear reviews Jennifer Lopez Rom Coms Ranked Worst to Best Jlo
Gigli (© 2003 Columbia Pictures.)

Gigli stars Ben Affleck in the titular role, as a hitman who works for a crime boss. When he is assigned a very high-profile job, Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), a beautiful yet mysterious woman, comes in to make sure the operation goes smoothly. Oh boy, where to start with this one. As many know, Gigli is a terrible movie, but there are times when bad movies can be fun, such as the next movie on this ranking. It pains to have sat through this and say that, with this one, when it’s not being laughably bad, it is just plain boring. There really is nothing to enjoy about it: there are some comedic moments that don’t get any more than a chuckle, the romance is completely flat even with some chemistry between Lopez and Ben Affleck. To top all of this off, there are numerous cameos with well-accomplished actors, such as Al Pacino and Christopher Walken, that proves that there is enough talent in this film to make it an acting showcase of sorts. Because of this, most of the film just feels like wasted potential.

Romantic Value -1/10
Comedic Value – 2/10
Entertainment Value – 3/10
JLo Value – 3/10
Overall Value – 2.25/10


8. THE BOY NEXT DOOR

(2015)

Director: Rob Cohen

the boy next door
The Boy Next Door (© 2015 – Universal Pictures)

In The Boy Next Door, Jennifer Lopez plays a wife and mother named Claire whose husband was recently unfaithful to her. When a younger man moves in next door, he seduces her into sleeping with him. What Claire thought was a mistaken one-night stand turns into a fight for her life when the boy next door turns out not to be who he says he is. I went into this movie knowing that The Boy Next Door isn’t anything noteworthy to anyone’s career, but I surprisingly still enjoyed myself. Nothing about this movie is really that special, including Jennifer Lopez’s performance: for a movie of this nature, there needs to be some type of recognition that the plot is a little silly, but Lopez plays Claire with all the dramatic chops she has, leaving viewers unsatisfied with the tone of the film. With that being said, the film’s runtime is just over an hour and a half, so there is very little time wasted and very little time to get bored. Everything happens so fast, so even if it all doesn’t make sense, if you strap on for the short ride, it will be worth it in the end. Even though this isn’t a conventional romantic comedy, since it is labeled as a thriller, there is somewhat of a romance, and it is quite funny in a “so bad it’s good” type of way, so that’s why it is included in this list. 

Romantic Value -3/10
Comedic Value – 5/10
Entertainment Value – 7/10
JLo Value – 4/10
Overall Value – 4.75/10


7. THE WEDDING PLANNER

(2001)

Director: Adam Shankman

loud and clear reviews Jennifer Lopez Rom Coms Ranked Worst to Best Jlo
The Wedding Planner (Columbia Pictures)

In The Wedding Planner, we follow Mary (Lopez), who is one of the best wedding planners in San Francisco. When she finally meets someone who she thinks is the man of her dreams, it turns out that he is the groom of one of the biggest weddings of her career. Throughout the movie, we watch Mary and Steve (Matthew McConaughey) go through the processes of planning a wedding together, as they fall in love with each other even though he is getting married to another woman. Ahhh, the one that started it all. Since both Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, two soon to be Rom-Com legends are in the leading roles, The Wedding Planner has the title and the star power of what could’ve been one of the most iconic Rom-Coms of the 21st century, but unfortunately, it falls flat most of the time. There are some very sweet moments, but when they are right before a completely absurd comedic scene, it all feels out of place, no matter how funny or sweet those scenes were. In this movie, we also see proof that Jennifer Lopez originally was the “Rom-Com” replacement girl. Her role really could have been played by anyone, as she doesn’t really do anything special with it, unlike what she does in almost all of her other roles after this.

 Even though I did spend the last few sentences complaining, The Wedding Planner isn’t necessarily bad: it just had the potential to be so much better. One final praise that this film has, which makes it pretty groundbreaking, is the type of character Lopez plays. She is a wedding planner, but her character goes beyond that. She is an accomplished Latina, and, at the time that this movie came out (2001), there wasn’t a lot of representation like this, especially for Latinas. Regardless of how I feel about this movie’s mediocrity as a whole, I do think that it is a classic of sorts, especially in this genre, and that is all due to the film’s ability to have a non-white character in a leading role. 

Romantic Value -5/10
Comedic Value – 6/10
Entertainment Value – 5/10
JLo Value – 5/10
Overall Value – 5.25/10


6. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING

(2013)

Director: Kirk Jones

loud and clear reviews Jennifer Lopez Rom Coms Ranked Worst to Best Jlo
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (© 2012 – Lionsgate)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting follows the life of five different couples as all of them go through the process of getting ready for a child in very different ways. Just like the title of this movie, this ensemble comedy is a lot at once and, while it never gets bad, it never moves past good ethier. There are around 5 storylines for you to indulge and none of them really get the chance to breathe, so it almost feels like you’re watching an almost two-hour-long recap of what could be three seasons worth of television. With that being said, all of these storylines make the movie very fast-paced, in a movie where all of these storylines could get boring. This is mainly due to a lot of the comedic situations that the characters have to go through. Whether it is having to hide scandalous wedding photos from an adoption agency, or having your water break on live television, this film stays consistent on its light and breezy tone throughout. 

Lopez’s role in What to Expect When You’re Expecting is more on the dramatic side of the spectrum, and while she does a fine job in it, nothing about this particular character is written in a way that makes her special. One of the best parts of the film is the different takes it has on motherhood and finding the light in the numerous bad situations that happen. For example, Cameron Diaz, who is just one part of the ensemble, plays a celebrity fitness instructor. Throughout her pregnancy, she has to juggle that exhausting job with all of her pregnancy struggles, which is a more unique storyline. Even with unique takes on motherhood, and a consistently comedic tone, looking back, one of the main reasons for this movie not be great is the missed opportunity of having a more diverse cast, with only two of the over ten person ensemble being nonwhite. 

Romantic Value -5/10
Comedic Value – 7/10
Entertainment Value – 6/10
JLo Value – 5/10
Overall Value – 5.75/10


5. MAID IN MANHATTAN

(2002)

Director: Wayne Wang

maid in manhattan
Maid in Manhattan (© 2002 – Columbia/TriStar)

Since Maid in Manhattan certified Jennifer Lopez as one the most wanted leading ladies of Romantic Comedies, it makes sense that this film in particular is so charming. Even though the premise of a maid that falls in love with a rich man while she pretends to be rich is probably the plot of 15 other romantic comedies, it still feels somewhat fresh once the two leads meet, and start falling in love. Jennifer Lopez has previously stated that she was conscious about the fact that leading roles in rom-coms have only been given to white women, and she wanted to show that more than one culture can be seen as desirable and romantic. With this role, in particular, it feels like she accomplished her goal. The audience gets to know more about her family, and work-life where she isn’t the only Latina in the scene, and it makes the movie have a lot more heart because of it. By the end of the movie, you fall in love with the idea of being in Lopez’s shoes instead of the romance as a whole, and even though this film has nothing new to add to the Rom-Com genre, it is still just as good as any other romantic comedy. 

Romantic Value -7/10
Comedic Value – 5/10
Entertainment Value – 6/10
JLo Value – 7/10
Overall Value – 6.25/10


4. SECOND ACT

(2018)

Director: Peter Segal

second act jlo
Second Act (© Motion Picture Artwork)

If Jennifer Lopez had a girlboss Rom-Com, this would be it. In Second Act, we follow Maya Vargas (Lopez) as she gets a job at a prestigious company with a falsified resume to prove that street smarts can equal book smarts. The main plot isn’t about romance, but you still feel the love throughout the whole movie. There is a lot of fun to be had with this scenario and this film does find the humor when it needs it, but there isn’t much else here. The main highlight of Second Act is Lopez’s chemistry with a lot of the ensemble, in particular with Leah Remini and Annaleigh Ashford, who each give great supporting turns playing Maya’s best friend and assistant, respectively. Even though this isn’t the most memorable movie, because sometimes it does feel a little too surface value, you can’t deny just how fun it is. On top of all of this, Lopez’s performance in Second Act feels as if it’s her rom-com capstone, because she shows almost everything she can do in a romantic comedy setting by the time the credits roll. 

Romantic Value -4/10
Comedic Value – 7/10
Entertainment Value – 7/10
JLo Value – 8/10
Overall Value – 6.5/10

See Also


3. MONSTER IN LAW

(2005)

Director: Robert Luketic

loud and clear reviews Jennifer Lopez Rom Coms Ranked Worst to Best Jlo monster in law
Monster in Law (Melissa Moseley – © 2005 New Line Cinema.)

When Charlotte finally meets the perfect man, she thinks her life will be happily ever after. This dream quickly becomes a nightmare when she meets her boyfriend’s mother, who will stop at nothing to destroy their relationship. While Monster in Law isn’t necessarily a romantic comedy, it sure is one hell of a comedy. What makes this film so much fun is how camp it is. Having Jane Fonda play the titular monster lets audiences know that this isn’t a serious movie with high stakes (or I hope it should), and knowing that this is truly light-hearted fun at its core is all you can ask for with a movie like this. Throughout this film, Jennifer Lopez is able to do something a little different than the typical romantic lead performance. She gets to be a part of what can only be compared to a Home Alone type of slapstick comedy, which is very new, and her performance shows that she can have a funny delivery, even if the script isn’t always the strongest which is a testament to how good of an actress she is. Even though both Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda give good performances, the main star is Wanda Sykes. As soon as Monster in Law gets repetitive, Sykes delivers hilarious lines that make the overall movie so much better and so much fun. 

Romantic Value -5/10
Comedic Value – 8/10
Entertainment Value – 7/10
JLo Value – 7/10
Overall Value – 6.75/10


2. THE BACK-UP PLAN

(2010)

Director: Alan Poul

loud and clear reviews Jennifer Lopez Rom Coms Ranked Worst to Best Jlo the backup plan
The Back-Up Plan (CBS Films)

Contrary to popular belief, The Back-Up Plan makes for a perfectly fun time. In this particular Rom-Com, Lopez gets artificially inseminated and is fully planning on being a single mother, until she meets someone literally ten minutes after she becomes pregnant. As she progresses through pregnancy, her new relationship continuously gets tested, since having a baby right after meeting someone is not what most people sign up for. All I ask in a studio Rom-Com is that it looks like people are having a fun time making it, and that, if the film goes into stereotypes, it is self-aware about it. On both of these fronts, The Back-Up Plan delivers. Lopez does an increasingly great job in this role in particular, where she gets to do more physical comedy than her past efforts. While there is nothing really wrong with the film, there is also nothing really exemplary. It is just plain old fun. At the end of the day, this is not supposed to be an Academy Award nominated motion picture and it isn’t trying to be. If you take it for face value, you will be able to enjoy yourself, just as much as any other movie. 

Romantic Value -8/10
Comedic Value – 7/10
Entertainment Value – 7/10
JLo Value – 7/10
Overall Value – 7.25/10


1. MARRY ME

(2022)

Director: Kat Coiro
Full Review: Jennifer Lopez Remains a Rom-Com Staple

marry me jennifer lopez owen wilson
Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) and Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) in Marry Me (© 2020 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS)

Even though it is an entire coincidence that Marry Me, Lopez’s most recent effort, is her best one yet, it doesn’t stop me from saying how much fun this is. When pop superstar Kat Valdez (Lopez) finds out that her fiancé (Maluma) is cheating on her seconds before she was about to exchange vows in front of 20 million people, she makes a split-second decision to marry a random person in the crowd named Charlie (Owen Wilson). Instead of admitting to everyone that this decision was irrational, Kat decides to stay married to Charlie and get to know the man she just married. There is so much to love with this one. From the music being such a pleasant surprise, giving us at least 3 great songs, to the chemistry between Lopez and Owen Wilson that could make anyone blush, there is almost no reason to not have a great time. On top of the two leads going above and beyond what a typical Rom-Com asks, the supporting cast does just as well, with Sarah Silverman, in particular, carrying most of the comedy on her back as Charlie’s friend. Even though the plot is far-fetched and some of the social media aspects of it all get pretty tedious at times if you are able to suspend your belief in the Rom-Com world. Marry Me is the fluffy little film that we all need in our lives. 

Romantic Value -7/10
Comedic Value – 7/10
Entertainment Value – 8/10
JLo Value – 9/10
Overall Value – 7.75/10


I have said it a few times but it is worth mentioning one more time. Being a part of the Latinx community is something that I am extremely proud of, but unfortunately, on-screen, there isn’t always the best representation. From being a burglar on a white-dominated police procedural to being that sly animated Hispanic creature, there was never a question of where I could find myself on screen, but if I could really see myself. these rom-coms provided an opportunity to see myself in a way that I didn’t even realize I could be portrayed until I started writing this article. Seeing a Latina be successful numerous times not only in her romantic life, but also in her professional life is still pretty rare, and even though I don’t share the exact same identities as her, watching all of these movies makes me proud to be Puerto Rican. Seeing her impact on and off screen is also really inspiring. Every time I go to see my grandparents in Queens, there is always some talk about Lopez, whether it is her music or a new movie coming out. This is because she is one of the only people to have constantly stayed in the pop culture conversation for over two decades, and that is something worth praising. 


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