Best and worst Jennifer Lopez movies

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July 16, 2019

Best and worst Jennifer Lopez movies

The dream of a crossover star has long fascinated the public. Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Tupac, Will Smith, and, most recently, Lady Gaga, have jumped from the recording studio to the silver screen and back again. Born in the Bronx, Jennifer Lopez took a slightly different path to crossover stardom, beginning her career as a dancer on "In Living Color" before breaking into acting with her first major film role in 1995's "My Family." By 1997, Lopez was becoming a full-blown movie star, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Mexican-American singer Selena. That same year, she starred in big-budget action movie "Anaconda" and, in 1998, she and George Clooney gave star-making performances in Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight."

Incredibly, it wasn't until the summer of 1999 that Lopez made her music debut, putting out "On the 6" which hit #8 on Billboard's Hot 100. The album included iconic Latin pop songs like "Waiting for Tonight" and made Lopez a megastar. Lopez timed her second album drop—2001's "J.Lo"—to the release of "The Wedding Planner," meaning she was simultaneously the star of a $100 million-grossing rom-com and a singer with the #1 album in the world.

In a negative review of "On the 6," Entertainment Weekly critic David Browne wrote: "In the year 2020, this album will be part of someone's doctoral thesis on the dangers of crossover." Clearly, with Lopez still releasing music, movies, television shows, and dominating the tabloid section of grocery stores across the country, Browne was wrong. Lopez became a hugely bankable star in both fields.

Now, does that mean all her movies are good? Absolutely not. But even through the very public cinematic disaster that was "Gigli" (and very public love affair with co-star Ben Affleck), Jenny from the Block soldiered on. Unfortunately, her films rarely approached the greatness of those early few; in fact, those that followed hued closer to "Anaconda" than "Out of Sight." But during the almost three decades since Lopez appeared as a dancer on "In Living Color," she's kept on making movies and releasing hit records.

In honor of Jennifer Lopez's 50th birthday July 24, here are her best and worst movies, ranked from 31 to 1 by their IMDb scores.

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#31. Gigli

- IMDb user rating: 2.4
- IMDb user votes: 44,592
- Metascore: 18
- Runtime: 121 min
- Director: Martin Brest

The worst film of Jennifer Lopez's career is considered by many to be the worst film of any actor's career. The comedy by director Martin Brest (“Midnight Run,” “Scent of a Woman”) cost $75.6 million to make and made only $7.2 million at the box office (Ben Affleck and Lopez were each paid more than the total gross revenue). The film tells the story loanshark Larry Gigli (Affleck) who is forced to work with Lopez in the kidnapping of an intellectually disabled younger brother of a federal prosecutor (Justin Bartha). The film came at the height of Bennifer tabloid news in 2003, though even the extra press couldn't help this film. 

#30. Feel the Noise

- IMDb user rating: 2.8
- IMDb user votes: 3,520
- Metascore: 36
- Runtime: 86 min
- Director: Alejandro Chomski

Though Jennifer Lopez only appears in a cameo in "Feel the Noise," her fingerprints are all over it. She produced the 2007 film, which tells the story of an up-and-coming Bronx rapper (Omarion Grandberry) who is forced to go into hiding in his father's native Puerto Rico. Once there, the rapper finds Reggaeton which launches him to even more stardom. This film was disliked by critics and audiences alike. It was a derivative story and Grandberry of boy band B2K fame wasn't the star to keep people interested.

#29. The Boy Next Door

- IMDb user rating: 4.7
- IMDb user votes: 34,904
- Metascore: 30
- Runtime: 91 min
- Director: Rob Cohen

A psychological stalker thriller from the director of the original “Fast and the Furious” film seems like a slam dunk, but “The Boy Next Door” barely even hit the rim. Jennifer Lopez stars as Claire Peterson, a teacher who is seduced by a handsome 19-year-old (Ryan Guzman) who's just transferred to her school. One critic compared the film to Dana Carvey's disastrous “Master of Disguise” and another called it “one of the stupidest films ever made”—they were not alone in loathing it.

#28. Anaconda

- IMDb user rating: 4.7
- IMDb user votes: 87,465
- Metascore: 37
- Runtime: 89 min
- Director: Luis Llosa

A classic of 1990s monster schlock, “Anaconda” tells the story of a documentary film crew hoping to shoot the Amazon's Shirishama Indians and instead finding a 40-foot killer snake. Jennifer Lopez stars alongside Ice Cube, Jon Voight, and a truly unimpressive animatronic reptile. Still, though this far from high-cinema, “Anaconda” is considered entertaining and fun, in a B-movie sort of way.

#27. Maid in Manhattan

- IMDb user rating: 5.2
- IMDb user votes: 78,920
- Metascore: 45
- Runtime: 105 min
- Director: Wayne Wang

A 2003 rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez with Stanley Tucci and Amy Sedaris in supporting roles is the stuff of dreams. Unfortunately, Ralph Fiennes as Lopez's romantic foil never connects, which keeps the film about an aspiring politician who mistakes a maid for a socialite from the rom-com pantheon. Director Wayne Wang first made his name in Hollywood with 1993's “The Joy Luck Club.”

#26. The Wedding Planner

- IMDb user rating: 5.3
- IMDb user votes: 71,121
- Metascore: 33
- Runtime: 103 min
- Director: Adam Shankman

A renaissance means a rebirth which is why Matthew McConaughey's career rebirth was dubbed the McConaissance. But of course, a renaissance inherently means a return from a low-point and smack dab in the middle of McConaughey's Dark Ages was 2001's “The Wedding Planner.” In the rom-com, Lopez stars as Mary Fiore, a San Francisco-based wedding planner who falls for McConaughey before learning that she's been hired by his fiancé to plan their wedding. The plot is familiar to the point of cliché, but Lopez and McConaughey are as charming as ever.

#25. The Back-up Plan

- IMDb user rating: 5.4
- IMDb user votes: 46,215
- Metascore: 34
- Runtime: 104 min
- Director: Alan Poul

This 2010 rom-com was a return to the genre for Jennifer Lopez after a five-year hiatus. Unfortunately, neither critics nor audiences fell in love with the 2010 Lopez vehicle. In the film, Lopez plays a career-minded woman who decides to have twins by artificial insemination, only to meet her dream man (Alex O'Loughlin) right after she conceives. The film hits all the expected beats, but critics suggest “The Back-up Plan” falls flat because O'Loughlin and Lopez don't click on screen.

#24. El cantante

- IMDb user rating: 5.5
- IMDb user votes: 4,483
- Metascore: 46
- Runtime: 106 min
- Director: Leon Ichaso

This 2007 music-industry biopic teams Jennifer Lopez up with her then-husband Marc Anthony. Anthony plays Puerto Rican salsa legend Héctor Lavoe and Lopez plays his wife Puchi, also the film's narrator. Lavoe's story is a fascinating one—he created the genre of salsa and brought it to New York before struggling with addiction and then dying of AIDS—but some believe the film does not do it justice.

#23. Monster-in-Law

- IMDb user rating: 5.5
- IMDb user votes: 52,425
- Metascore: 31
- Runtime: 101 min
- Director: Robert Luketic

Though “Monster-in-Law” was not loved by critics, it did well at the box office, bringing in $83 million, which is second only to “Maid in Manhattan” in Jennifer Lopez's live-action career. But the rom-com, which pits Lopez against Jane Fonda, her overprotective and insane future mother-in-law, is a missed opportunity more than anything else. This was Fonda's return to acting after 15 years away and she is kinetic in the role, but the performance is undone by the lack of attention-to-detail or narrative weight in the script. As Roger Ebert wrote in 2005: “‘Monster-in-Law' fails the Gene Siskel Test: ‘Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?'”

#22. Angel Eyes

- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- IMDb user votes: 21,326
- Metascore: 39
- Runtime: 102 min
- Director: Luis Mandoki

“Angel Eyes” is a gritty drama that casts Jennifer Lopez as a cop with a dark past who finds love and a partner-in-melancholy in Catch Lambert (Jim Caviezel), a sad good-deeds man who saves her life. Terrence Howard plays Lopez's partner in this film by director Luis Mandoki. Critics disliked the film but had good things to say about Lopez's performance.

#21. Money Train

- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- IMDb user votes: 36,538
- Metascore: Data not available
- Runtime: 110 min
- Director: Joseph Ruben

“Money Train” stars Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as an odd-couple pair of foster brothers and subway cops whose relationship strains when the beautiful Grace (Jennifer Lopez) comes onto their beat. Harrelson's character has dreams of robbing “the money train,” the train car that collects all the money from each station at the end of the day. With Snipes and Lopez's help, they finally give the big score a shot. The film was highly anticipated after the success of the Snipes/Harrelson classic “White Men Can't Jump” three years earlier, but 1995's “Money Train” cost too much and made too little. The most extravagant and ambitious cost of all was a more-than-half-mile-long subway set built near Los Angeles' Chinatown.

#20. Enough

- IMDb user rating: 5.7
- IMDb user votes: 36,313
- Metascore: 25
- Runtime: 115 min
- Director: Michael Apted

Working-class waitress Slim (Jennifer Lopez) believes she's won the lottery when she marries wealthy dreamboat Mitch (Billy Campbell). But Mitch becomes controlling and abusive, and so Slim decides to go on the run, hide her 5-year-old daughter, and then fight back. Directed by Michael Apted (“Thunderheart”), “Enough” is tense and action-packed. Lopez reportedly prepared by studying Krav Maga, the martial-arts style taught to the Israeli army.

#19. Ice Age: Collision Course

- IMDb user rating: 5.7
- IMDb user votes: 49,245
- Metascore: 34
- Runtime: 94 min
- Director: Mike Thurmeier

In the fifth “Ice Age” film, Jennifer Lopez plays Shira, a sabertooth tiger. The first “Ice Age” was critically acclaimed, but since then, the star-studded animated films have been dependable box office draws that critics like less and less each time. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers called “Collision Course” “a loud, lazy, laugh-starved cash grab.” The film did, however, made $408 million worldwide.

#18. What to Expect When You're Expecting

- IMDb user rating: 5.7
- IMDb user votes: 66,007
- Metascore: 41
- Runtime: 110 min
- Director: Kirk Jones

Based on the best-selling self-help book by the same name, this 2012 film weaves together four stories of expectant mothers (Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, and Jennifer Lopez). Lopez plays a photographer struggling to adopt a child from Ethiopia. The cast is stacked and the topic and source material are fascinating, but the film falls into rom-com clichés and never gets as insightful as one would hope.

#17. Lila & Eve

- IMDb user rating: 5.8
- IMDb user votes: 7,209
- Metascore: 45
- Runtime: 94 min
- Director: Charles Stone III

In “Lila & Eve,” Jennifer Lopez plays Eve, a grieving mother who pushes Lila (Viola Davis) to take matters into her own hands after the cops fail to bring her son's killer to justice. Critics suggest the small vigilante thriller doesn't deliver on its promising premise, despite a notable performance by Davis. The film premiered at Sundance but went almost completely unseen when it hit theaters, bringing in just $38,263.

#16. Second Act

- IMDb user rating: 5.8
- IMDb user votes: 13,796
- Metascore: 46
- Runtime: 103 min
- Director: Peter Segal

In 2018's “Second Act,” Maya (Jennifer Lopez) is a 40-year-old working to prove herself capable and deserving of a job on Madison Avenue. Lopez as the street-smart underdog is always charming and fun, and both Leah Remini and Vanessa Hudgens are capable foils, but the script doesn't deliver enough surprise or wisdom to carry the film. Director Peter Segal had previously directed the Chris Farley classic “Tommy Boy” and a string of mega-successful, critically disdained comedies in the noughties (“Nutty Professor II,” “Anger Management,” “50 First Dates,” “The Longest Yard,” and “Get Smart”).

#15. Jack

- IMDb user rating: 5.8
- IMDb user votes: 52,753
- Metascore: 31
- Runtime: 113 min
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Where to even start with “Jack,” the 1996 comedy by Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”) which stars Robin Williams as a 10-year-old who looks 40. Coppola was one of the great American directors, Williams was a legendary performer, and Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, and a not-yet-disgraced Bill Cosby rounded out the strong cast. But critics say the movie is sentimental, unsettling, and just plain weird

#14. Blood and Wine

- IMDb user rating: 6
- IMDb user votes: 8,687
- Metascore: data not available 
- Runtime: 101 min
- Director: Bob Rafelson

In 1997's “Blood and Wine,” Jack Nicholson stars as Alex, a wealthy wine merchant with a seemingly idyllic life that's actually much messier and close to combusting. When he teams with Michael Caine to steal a valuable diamond necklace, things begin to fall apart. Jennifer Lopez plays Nicholson's beautiful mistress who later falls for his stepson, played by Stephen Dorff. The noir thriller is gritty and committed to the world, and is said to work because of the amazing cast.

#13. Bordertown

- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- IMDb user votes: 9,536
- Metascore: data not available 
- Runtime: 112 min
- Director: Gregory Nava

In “Bordertown,” Jennifer Lopez plays an ambitious journalist with dreams of covering Iraq who instead is sent to Juarez, Mexico, to cover the frontlines of the War on Drugs. When a kidnapped woman escapes the cartel and finds refuge at the newspaper, Lopez and fellow reporter/lover Antonio Banderas find themselves at the center of a thrilling, dangerous story. “Bordertown” was directed by Gregory Nava, the famous Mexican American director of “El Norte,” “Selena,” and “My Family.”

#12. Shall We Dance?

- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- IMDb user votes: 40,658
- Metascore: 47
- Runtime: 106 min
- Director: Peter Chelsom

Based on director Masayuki Suo's 1995 romantic comedy, 2004's “Shall We Dance?” tells the story of a husband (Richard Gere) who seeks refuge from his marriage in the dance studio of a beautiful instructor (Jennifer Lopez), only to find an unexpected love for dance and for his wife (Susan Sarandon). Gere is delightful in another dancing role (in the vein of “Chicago”) and Stanley Tucci is hilarious in a supporting role. It never reaches the originality or genius of the Japanese original, but “Shall We Dance” is fun. Or, as the Washington Post critic explained it: “‘Shall We Dance?' takes a small, exquisite Japanese movie and turns it into a big, stupid American movie.”

#11. Jersey Girl

- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- IMDb user votes: 60,264
- Metascore: 43
- Runtime: 102 min
- Director: Kevin Smith

After spending the 1990s making smallish, off-beat comedies, director Kevin Smith attempted something more conventional with this fatherhood sentimental comedy starring Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler. Affleck plays a music publicist whose life is upended when his wife (Jennifer Lopez) dies of a brain aneurysm during childbirth. Affleck moves back to New Jersey to live with his father (George Carlin), far from his glitzy life. The film bombed at the box office and was panned by critics; Lopez and Affleck's public breakup didn't make things any easier for Smith's film. Still, many find the film entertaining enough in retrospect.

#10. Parker

- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- IMDb user votes: 105,768
- Metascore: 42
- Runtime: 118 min
- Director: Taylor Hackford

Based on the best-selling crime novels by Donald E. Westlake, 2013's “Parker” stars Jason Statham as the titular thief who seeks revenge on his crew after being double-crossed. Jennifer Lopez plays Leslie Rodgers, a Palm Beach real estate agent, who becomes Parker's accomplice in his jewelry heist. Statham is an ideal action star, so critics say it's a fun flick to see at the movies.

#9. The Cell

- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- IMDb user votes: 90,003
- Metascore: 40
- Runtime: 107 min
- Director: Tarsem Singh

In 2000's “The Cell,” Vincent D'Onofrio plays a deranged killer who tortures and kills women in his cell, a glass chamber hidden in his farmhouse where he slowly drowns his victims. Vince Vaughn stars as the FBI agent on his trail who enlists the help of Jennifer Lopez, a gifted child therapist who uses a groundbreaking technique to try to get into D'Onofrio's mind. The film, by music video director Tarsem Singh (R.E.M.'s “Losing My Religion”), is considered disturbing and ambitious. At times, it falls short, but it's a fascinating concept and it's always fun watching D'Onofrio play the villain.

#8. Home

- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- IMDb user votes: 86,047
- Metascore: 55
- Runtime: 94 min
- Director: Tim Johnson

“Home,” the 2015 animated film from DreamWorks, tells the story of Oh, an alien who lands on Earth on the run after blowing the plans of his planet's military captain (voiced by Steve Martin) to take over Earth. A brave young girl named Tip (voiced by Rihanna) befriends him and helps him evade his fellow aliens who've come to bring him back. Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) voices Oh and Jennifer Lopez plays Tip's mother. The film is colorful and adorable, and Lopez and Rihanna both voice characters and provide much of the music for the movie, which brought in $386 million worldwide.

#7. Antz

- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- IMDb user votes: 139,564
- Metascore: 72
- Runtime: 83 min
- Director: Eric Darnell

The 1998 DreamWorks classic tells the story of Z (voiced by Woody Allen), an ant who has dreams of individual glory in a society where the collective colony is king. The voice cast for DreamWorks Animation's first film features Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Dan Akroyd, Danny Glover, Christopher Walken, and, of course, Jennifer Lopez. The film came out just a couple weeks before Pixar's “A Bug's Life”; Steve Jobs publicly called out DreamWorks for ripping off the idea from his company.

#6. Ice Age: Continental Drift

- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- IMDb user votes: 176,229
- Metascore: 49
- Runtime: 88 min
- Director: Steve Martino

The fourth in the “Ice Age” franchise, “Continental Drift” appears to be a recycled version of the earlier animated films. This one still has prehistoric squirrel Scrat chasing an acorn and leaving a mess in his wake, which Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Dennis Leary) must clean up, for the sake of the planet this time. Jennifer Lopez enters the franchise, voicing Shira, a sabertooth tiger. The film was disdained by critics, but loved by kids. It made $877 million worldwide.

#5. Selena

- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- IMDb user votes: 22,420
- Metascore: 67
- Runtime: 127 min
- Director: Gregory Nava

In 1997's “Selena,” Jennifer Lopez plays the titular slain pop star in what many consider her acting tour-de-force. The film traces Selena from her youth as a child singer in her family band to her rise to Mexican and Mexican American pop stardom and concludes with her tragic death at the hands of the president of her fan club. In many ways, Selena is the role Lopez was born to play, and she fully inhabits the part. “Selena” was the second of three films that paired Lopez with director Gregory Nava.

#4. U Turn

- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- IMDb user votes: 46,557
- Metascore: 54
- Runtime: 125 min
- Director: Oliver Stone

Most Oliver Stone films use a bright highlighter to focus the viewer on the politics of the country, but “U Turn” is a dark, humorous, and small film about a gambler (Sean Penn) whose car breaks down in an Arizona mining town. Stone populates Superior, Ariz., with a cast of memorable misfits: Billy Bob Thorton as a mechanic, Jon Voight as blind seer-type, Claire Danes as an innocent beauty with a scary boyfriend (Joaquin Phoenix). Eventually, Penn meets Jennifer Lopez, the town's femme fatal, who is married to a truly terrifying Nick Nolte. As one would expect, lots of criminal activity and insanity ensues.

#3. An Unfinished Life

- IMDb user rating: 7
- IMDb user votes: 27,310
- Metascore: 49
- Runtime: 108 min
- Director: Lasse Hallström

Based on a cinematic novel by Mark Spragg, “An Unfinished Life” tells the story of a down-on-his-luck rancher (Robert Redford) who gets sober and then gets purpose when his late son's widow (Jennifer Lopez) seeks refuge from her abusive lover (Damian Lewis) on his ranch. Lopez arrives with a granddaughter Redford has never met and, eventually, the dangerous Lewis in tow. Directed by Lasse Hallström (“The Cider House Rules,” “What's Eating Gilbert Grape?”), the modern Western is gorgeous to look at, if not always great to watch.

#2. Out of Sight

- IMDb user rating: 7
- IMDb user votes: 80,009
- Metascore: 85
- Runtime: 123 min
- Director: Steven Soderbergh

Steve Soderbbergh's “Out of Sight” is a pitch-perfect crime caper. Adapted from a novel by Elmore Leonard, “Out of Sight” puts escaped prisoner Jack Foley (George Clooney) and Deputy Federal Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) on opposite sides of the law while, of course, being attracted to each other. Both Lopez and Clooney were at the absolute peak of their kinetic powers in 1998, which makes the movie fun and impossible to look away from, say some critics. After a rough run as Batman, this film proved to everyone that Clooney could be a movie star.

#1. My Family

- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- IMDb user votes: 3,448
- Metascore: data not available 
- Runtime: 128 min
- Director: Gregory Nava

The first Jennifer Lopez/Gregory Nava pairing was also Lopez's first major acting role, starring as Maria Sanchez, the immigrant matriarch of an East Los Angeles Mexican American family. “My Family” is a three-generational family epic spanning from the 1930s when Lopez and her husband arrived in America through their son Jimmy Sanchez (Jimmy Smits) who starts his own family in the 1960s. Roger Ebert loved the film, which netted Lopez an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance. “My Family” is a classic Chicano film.

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