Jennifer Lopez might be mounting a Second Act of life at the center of her first live-action feature in over three years, but her character certainly isn’t in the market for second chances in EW’s exclusive preview of the upcoming comedy (above).
The producer-star of the film leads as Maya, an ambitious, street-smart box store employee who lands a fancy corporate gig in Manhattan via an embellished résumé. Before she moves up, however, Maya has to claw her way past a misogynist manager (The Comeback‘s Dan Bucatinsky) to make it out of retail hell.
“I’ve been thinking about all the things you’ve said this week, and I don’t think I can be your right hand…. Best of luck to you,” Maya, fed up with her thankless position, tells her boss before heading toward the door.
“Best of luck to you,” he quips back. “It’s not easy getting a job for a woman your age.”
Without missing a beat, Maya pivots and heads back as her friends — including Lopez’s real-life bestie Leah Remini, who plays Maya’s co-worker Joan in the Peter Segal-directed movie — watch the impending conflict unfold with glee.
“Watch me,” Maya proudly asserts, making her way out of the store and tossing her name tag over her shoulder as her former peers cheer her on. As luck would have it, however, Maya trips over a barricaded checkout line.
But it’s that imperfection in Maya’s step that attracted Lopez to the role in the first place.
“Maya’s an underdog. And I think most people kind of feel that way, that they’re the underdog at times. You’re always trying to get ahead, asking yourself: What if I had gone to this school or what if I got that job… what if I hadn’t made that mistake or that choice? Again, as people we all struggle with those choices that we make and we wonder, ‘what if,’ [but] we don’t realize every mistake and everything we go through is leading us exactly where we’re supposed to be,” the 49-year-old previously told EW of the film. “Those are the lessons we need. That’s what I love about my character: it’s her discovering that after thinking her life was kind of done or that her mistakes had led her to a place she wasn’t happy with, but it’s exactly where she was supposed to be…. In every business, we’re second fiddle to men…. Getting older or being a woman or whatever, all of that stuff all the struggle that we go through, I think people can relate to.”
Second Act — also starring Vanessa Hudgens, This Is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia, Charlyne Yi, Annaleigh Ashford, and Freddie Stroma — hits theaters Dec. 21. Watch EW’s exclusive sneak peek above.