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This Is Me…Now: A Love Story review: Jennifer Lopez leads bizarrely fun musical

Watching Sadhguru as part of a ‘zodiac council’ for Jennifer Lopez and her relationship woes was not even in my wildest cinema dreams. But here we are. Up in the clouds, there is Jane Fonda, Sofia Vergara, Trevor Noah, Post Malone and Keke Palmer wildly debating about JLo’s broken heart. I wish I was kidding but what exactly are we looking for here? (Also read: One Day review: Netflix hits gold with beautiful, decades-spanning love story)

Jennifer Lopez in a still from This is Me…Now: A Love Story.

The premise

Prime Video’s This is Me… Now: A Love Story, is billed as a “narrative-driven cinematic odyssey,” that tells the story of Jennifer Lopez playing a ‘hopeless romantic’ version of Jennifer Lopez. She is a woman whose biggest disease is that she wants love but good god, where do we find that thing for her? To define it is doubting the bonkers and bizzare experience that this post-modern fantastic documentary wants you to take seriously.

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Is it a narrative fiction feature? Is it a documentary? A music commercial? A glossary, more production-heavy counterpart to the singer’s Super Bowl performance? Say what you will and it fits. You try to make sense and it constantly escapes your grip. This is Me… Now: A Love Story begins fantastically with an animation sequence telling the Puerto Rican myth of Alida and Taroo. We quickly shift gears to The Artist on the back of the motorcycle with the man whose face is not revealed. The bike crashes and she lands straight into a heart factory that runs on rose petals. She can’t save it either. Or she wants to say.

The Artist falls in love madly and deeply, but it’s never enough. Elsewhere, she keeps breaking up with them at the couple’s therapy, crying in Gucci or burning her love letters in her humongous mansion where the floor has JLo imprinted on the marbles. All in-between frequent outbursts of energetic pop tracks choreographed with hyperreal flair. And if you are wondering where’s Ben Affleck, you are definitely in for the wildest cameo in years.

The problem with This Is Me…Now is not in its bizarre theatrics. I would want to be thrown off the cliff with an audacious hour of pop extravaganza in a heartbeat. The point is that despite the promise and the mind-blowing visual effects that had me stay till the last second, there’s inherently very less that’s going on in the mix. The hummingbird metaphor, the deliberate comic relief, and the athletic dance numbers are so polished and defensive in its own accord that there’s no feeling left inside of it all. The camp and over-the-top visuals towers over the compulsion of the story told through interconnected stories.

The promise

To counter my argument, ‘This is me’… writing a review of a story that has left me questioning if I liked what I just saw and how do I explain it to the world. Thus far, I have had dreams where I know that the basic criteria is for that visual medium to evoke any sense of emotion: love, fear, sadness or even anger. If that feeling is evoked, if that story convinces me to care: I am sold. The writing gods surely can debate how to function normally with less sleeping hours. Or if I really need a life where I am not thinking or evaluating my own choices through fictional character in film(s)? But a guy has his mind firmly set on that choice and he will lead on. Write, write some more, think about writing when not writing, and watch more films.

That is exactly the discourse that This Is Me… Now wants to underline. So, isn’t making mistakes the point? Has anyone got it figured out? Of course not! If the artist can have a Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA) for help, I can get a Films United Nostalgia (FUN) as support in times of crisis. The poignancy of that dilemma cannot be underestimated, even as the absurdist tendencies of this musical drama takes the cake. They all sing the same song of survival.

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