J.Lo is back with an album and film... but is it any good?

Jennifer Lopez in 'This Is Me... Now'
Jennifer Lopez in 'This Is Me... Now' Copyright Amazon Prime
Copyright Amazon Prime
By Jonny Walfisz
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The Latin American pop star has written a sequel album and film about her relationship with actor Ben Affleck.


It’s been a big week for the noughties divas. First, Beyoncé announced her return at the Super Bowl with upcoming album ‘Act II’ as a follow-up to 2022 album ‘Renaissance’.

Now, Jennifer Lopez is back on the scene with her own sequel album, this time a response to her 2002 album ‘This Is Me... Then’.

When that came out, J.Lo was at the height of her fame. Lead single ‘Jenny from the Block’ was a smash hit, but it was the feature of then-boyfriend Ben Affleck in the music video that created headlines.

22 years later and J.Lo is no longer just Jenny from the Block. She’s performed at the Super Bowl, been nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in Hustlers and after a decade of marriage to Marc Anthony and a handful of other relationships, she’s back with Affleck.

If it seems unfair to define one of the most successful Latin American pop stars in history by her relationship with Affleck, that is exactly how Lopez has defined herself on new album ‘This Is Me… Now’.

Alongside the album – her first in a decade – Lopez has released a narrative music film inspired by its songs. Written by Lopez with help from Affleck, Matt Walton, Chris Shafer and the film’s director Dave Meyers, the film is an ode to the star’s tumultuous romantic life, up to her current marriage.

For the uninitiated, prior to marrying Affleck in 2022, Lopez has had a decade-long relationship with a childhood sweetheart, been married thrice, and had heavily-publicised romances with Sean Combs, Casper Smart and Alex Rodriguez.

The This Is Me… Now film, available from today on Amazon Prime, is an ode to the star’s penchant for ill-fated romance and her journey to self-love… and the renaissance of Bennifer.

Fair warning, this film has very little in common with aforementioned diva Beyoncé’s visual film Lemonade to accompany her 2016 album. While that has been praised as a genre-defining work of Black feminist art, Lopez has a different goal on the agenda.

Instead, This Is Me… Now is a riot of pure camp. Between its sci-fi interludes, dream sequences, and anthropomorphised astrology, Jenny from the Block has taken us right back to the charm of heady noughties pop.

The gossamer thin storyline follows Lopez as she traverses through a raft of unsavoury men in an effort to restart her broken heart – displayed literally after a motorbike crash while straddling Affleck transports us into a steampunk factory with a malfunctioning mechanical heart.

From the factory, Lopez performs ‘Hearts and Flowers’, a cracking banger accompanied by a CGI-heavy dance number. This trend continues through to the next number, ‘Rebound’. Another quality camp Latin-inflected pop song, this time set in a BDSM-themed glass apartment building as Lopez duels with problematic-boyfriend-for-a-song.

Jennifer Lopez, left, and Ben Affleck arrive at the premiere of "The Flash" on Monday, June 12, 2023
Jennifer Lopez, left, and Ben Affleck arrive at the premiere of "The Flash" on Monday, June 12, 2023Jordan Strauss/Invision

The narrative jumps between scenes of Lopez’s quotidian life, including earnest therapy sessions with a therapist played by rapper Fat Joe, a marriage sequence with a revolving cast of grooms, and sassy interventions from a friendship group.

Those scenes are interspersed by a heavenly council of the Zodiac signs played by an all-star case including Jane Fonda, Trevor Noah, Kim Petras, Post Malone, Keke Palmer, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lewis, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jay Shetty, and Sadhguru. Stacked.

Lopez’s astrological guardians overwatch her journey to self-acceptance in scenes reminiscent – at my most charitable – of something out of Tony Kushner’s ‘Angels in America’. As Lopez finally works her way through enough trash-heap man to recognise she don’t need no man.

Beside a jarring cameo as a heavily made-up right wing newscaster, Affleck is nowhere to be seen and Lopez finds self-love during a slightly damp squib ending song – an homage to Singin’ in the Rain that doesn’t land.

It’s very relationship-heavy, and between the chintzy CGI locations, quippy dialogue and fully committed dance numbers, the sum of its parts is a fun music video film that doesn’t try to redefine the genre but take it back to its roots. The camp is dialled to 11 and if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s a fun way to spend an hour with a star and her surprisingly enjoyable new album.

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