Every Thought I Had Watching J.Lo’s This Is Me … Now: A Love Story

Photo: Prime Video/Youtube

Jennifer Lopez has given us the gift that keeps on giving: herself. Today, Lopez releases her first studio album in ten years, This Is Me … Now, alongside an Amazon Prime–exclusive feature-length film titled This Is Me … Now: A Love Story. With an ellipsis, a colon, and a nod to her 2002 album This Is Me … Then, the title alone sets the tone for this maximalist musical-visual experience.

As we gleaned last month from its trailer, This Is Me … Now: A Love Story is no concert film à la Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour or Beyoncé’s Renaissance movie. Considering J.Lo already dropped a music video for “Can’t Get Enough,” it’s not exactly a visual album either. Nor is it a documentary — because there already is a documentary. It’s titled The Greatest Love Story Never Told, it will debut February 27 on Amazon Prime, and it will be the third and final component of J.Lo’s self-funded multimedia project. At the film’s (not the documentary) Wednesday premiere, director Dave Meyers compared the 65-minute film to a “mini Marvel movie.” Lopez herself has described the experience as “a journey.” Still, questions remain: Is the movie good? Is it bad but in a good way? And is Ben Affleck in it or what?

I had the distinct honor of watching Jennifer Lopez’s This Is Me … Now: A Love Story on the big screen earlier this week. Here is every thought I had while watching this hero’s journey–slash–musical romance–slash–vanity project. Spoilers ahead, obviously.

Photo: Courtesy of Prime

- If you’d like to re-create the experience of watching this movie in a theater, simply crank your stereo up to max volume and sit on top of it. The bass is so resonant in this movie theater, I feel like I have a Dolby Digital speaker in my ass.

- Okay, quiet down, class. We’re opening with a brief lesson in Puerto Rican mythology (J.Lo’s version). It’s “The Legend of the Hummingbird,” a story of star-crossed lovers who are turned into a rose and a hummingbird. Taroo, the man turned hummingbird, is fated to spend his existence flitting from flower to flower trying to find Alida, who was transformed into a red rose to escape her forced marriage to another man. Hmmm … is J.Lo the flower or the bird here?

- Oh my God: We are barely ten minutes in and J.Lo and her unnamed lover are in a motorcycle accident. Amid the crash, we zoom into J.Lo’s body and see her heart … but her heart is a giant steampunk engine (?) being maintained by all the gritty factory workers (??) who live inside J.Lo’s body (???). No time for comprehension, because we’ve arrived at our first dance break. This is “Hard-Knock Life” from Annie with aviation goggles and flower-centric metaphors.

- Oooh, it was all a dream. J.Lo is in therapy talking about it. Her therapist is rapper Fat Joe. This part is not a dream.

Photo: Courtesy of Prime

- Once again, no time to question or understand anything, including this casting choice, because J.Lo is dancing again. Her dances always deserve to be witnessed on the big screen. Why wasn’t J.Lo in the Step Up franchise? Was that beneath her? Anyway, J.Lo and a different lover are fight-dancing in a glass house. Are we supposed to infer that this is an allusion to an actual physically abusive relationship in J.Lo’s past? Is J.Lo dreaming again?? Am I???

- Aw, a wedding montage! With three different grooms! See, J.Lo can make a joke at her own expense! The grooms don’t seem to be one-to-one stand-ins for J.Lo’s first three marriages to Ojani Noa, Cris Judd, and Marc Anthony. But I am going to pretend that the husband played by professional dancer Derek Hough is inspired by Lopez’s former fiancé Alex Rodriguez.

- Aw, remember when A-Rod posted a tribute to J.Lo after they broke up? And the video was set to “Fix You,” by Coldplay? In many ways, that was A-Rod’s self-funded multimedia project.

- Dare I say, the constant CGI throughout the movie … works? It’s as over the top as everything else. We can add “magical realism” to the extensive list of genres this movie explores.

- Well, back to therapy with Fat Joe. J.Lo has been wearing a lot of pieces from the Gucci x Adidas collection. Maybe Gucci is the flower and Adidas is the hummingbird?

Photo: Prime Video/Youtube

- Puppy! There’s a puppy! Okay, the movie is worth its reported $20 million budget.

- J.Lo has just come home to all of her friends. Sitting in her home. They’re holding a love intervention because she’s too obsessed with love! The friends don’t have names; they have character traits. There’s the Fighter, the Quiet One, the Idealist, the Lover, the Realist, and the Cynic. Wait, the Cynic has a name. It’s Mike.

- Hmmm, the puppy is now a ten-year-old dog accompanying J.Lo to a meeting of — and I cannot stress this enough — Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA). The thesis statement of the movie is that J.Lo loves love. Its supporting arguments include a lyrical-style chair dance with her fellow Love Addicts. The meeting leader is Sound of Metal’s Paul Raci, who is absent for the musical sequence. Not even J.Lo could force him to learn the chair choreography.

- J.Lo’s main co-star in the movie is the concept of astrology. She makes a dig at Libra men and mentions several times that she is a Leo. There are cutaways to a Zodialogical Council, composed of Sofia Vergara, Keke Palmer, Jenifer Lewis, Jane Fonda, Post Malone, Trevor Noah, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Kim Petras, Jay Shetty, and the yogi Sadhguru. Each is playing a different star sign, though not everyone is portraying their actual star sign. I need the record to show that Keke Palmer is a Virgo, not a Scorpio, which she plays in the movie.

Photo: Prime

- If my thoughts seem scattered with jarring transitions, then I have done my job of accurately portraying the vibe of the movie. Some stray observations:

  • There’s a scene in which J.Lo is watching The Way We Were, mouthing Barbra Streisand’s lines.
  • While J.Lo and Fat Joe are doing inner child therapy, she imagines reconnecting with her childhood self in the Bronx.
  • A childhood crush tells J.Lo that “flowers don’t grow in the Bronx,” and she responds, “Sometimes they do.” It’s confirmed: J.Lo is the flower.
  • Sitting in front of her indoor fire-pit table, J.Lo burns a replica of an actual love letter Affleck wrote her in 2002. It reads, “Life’s tough but you’re sweet. Thanks for the gift. Hope you like the flowers. You told me you could never have enough. I believe you.”
  • The floor tiles in her movie home say “JLO.”

- We end on a Singin’ in the Rain–style dance, and J.Lo finds love within herself … and an unnamed man who is definitely supposed to be Affleck. Gorgeous.

- As the credits reveal, Ben Affleck is indeed in the movie. He dons a wig and prosthetics to play a news pundit named Rex Stone who is interspersed throughout the film. Several people in the theater gasped.

Correction: A previous version of this story included reports of Sadhguru’s appearance fee. According to a spokesperson, Sadhguru had no fee.

Every Thought I Had Watching This Is Me … Now: A Love Story