After years of dating the wrong men, Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) can hear her biological clock ticking. She is scared of waking up one day as an old woman without any family. So she takes matters into her own hands and decides to have a baby by herself. Against the better judgement of her closest friend Mona (Michaela Watkins), Zoe visits a sperm bank and is artificially inseminated. That very day she meets the man of her dreams, a farmer and cheese producer named Stan (Alex O’Loughlin).
Zoe is unsure about where their relationship is headed. She believes that Stan will leave her (just as her father did after her mother died). So she joins a single parents support group. There she meets an assortment of unusual characters. As Zoe comes to terms with the fact that she is expecting twins, Stan tries to come to terms with his role in their relationship. Although they experience some serious setbacks, they eventually find their way to a promising compromise at the most unexpected time.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Artificial insemination; pregnancy; loss of a parent; lesbian relationships
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
This movie contains some violence and accidental harm. For example, Zoe is grabbed by a woman in labour and is unable to escape from the woman’s vice-like grip.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:
- Zoe suffers from morning sickness and vomits.
- A woman gives birth in a pool while her partner pounds a drum with an unusual tribal beat in the background. The baby’s head is shown emerging as the woman writhes and screams in pain.
Children in this age group could be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above and also by the idea of artificial insemination.
Children in this age group could be disturbed by the idea of artificial insemination.
This movie contains some sexual references. For example:
- Zoe apologises for not doing her toenails. The gynaecologist says that he is not looking at her toes – he is looking at her cervix.
- Mona is trying to talk Zoe out of going through with her plans to have a baby, and offers to show Zoe her vagina. She says, ‘I’ve had four kids. I’ll show you my vagina’.
- Seeing how uncomfortable Stan is with the word vagina, the gynaecologist repeatedly works the word into the conversation. He says, ‘Vagina, vagina, vagina’.
- Stan is telling a friend that he has been replaced by Zoe’s body pillow. Stan says, ‘Screw the pillow’. His friend answers, ‘You might have to’.
- Stan’s friend says that he misses having ‘buck naked Fridays’ with his wife. This is a ritual they used to enjoy before they had kids.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- Zoe’s grandmother brings over a bottle of champagne, which the characters quickly open and drink.
- Guests drink at a wedding.
- Stan proposes to Zoe in a bar. People drink and toast the happy couple.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Stan rides a tractor without his shirt on and Zoe is so distracted she drives into a tree.
- Zoe and Stan make love in his cheese cellar. She has an orgasm on the small table they lean against before they move onto the floor. Stan comments on her multiple orgasms while they lie in each other’s arms.
- Zoe is looking at her bottom in the mirror while wearing a g-string.
- Zoe wears a negligee, and cuddles up with Stan, who is bare-chested.
- A woman gives birth in a wading pool. She wears a top, but is bare from the waist down. The baby’s head can be seen emerging.
None of concern
This movie contains some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Back-up Plan is a romantic comedy that deals with serious issues. The movie features believable performances, but it isn’t suitable for younger audiences because of its themes.
The main messages from this movie are to:
- believe in yourself
- make plans for your life but be prepared for change
- always make time in your life and room in your heart for love.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include trust, loyalty and responsibility.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:
- the long-term effects of losing a parent
- fear of commitment
- artificial insemination.