Don’t call it a comeback.
What Jennifer Lopez is going through is more of a brand transition into a softer, maternal, possibly more relatable 40-something J.Lo.
What’s still uncertain is if her career will come out the other side with the same cultural relevance it had a decade ago.
Now 40 and coming off a hiatus to be with her new twins, Emme and Max, age 2, it remains uncertain as to whether she can still lead a hit.
The latest evidence, rom-com "The Back-Up Plan," while not disastrous, certainly is troubling for the woman whose acting career appeared so promising, starting with a credible effort in 1998’s "Out of Sight," alongside George Clooney.
Through Sunday, "Back-Up Plan" — which was shot on a modest production budget of $35 million — had taken in just under $23 million after two weeks in theaters.
It grossed $7.3 million in its second weekend, dropping 40 percent from its $12.2 million opening.
(See slideshow: "The Ups and Downs of J.Lo.")
Then there’s her once-thriving musical career. Having broken up with longtime label Sony last month, it remains very much up in the air. After a long delay, her upcoming album,"Love," on her new Def Jam label, now is scheduled for summer.
Indeed, her previous album, 2007’s “Brave,” debuted only at No. 12 on the Billboard charts, enduring first-week sales of 53,000. That was a far cry from the days when 2001’s "J.Lo" sold an easy 8 million records or 2002, when "Jenny From the Block," off of "This Is Me … Then" hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It’s a far cry from 13 years ago, when Lopez was Golden Globe-nominated for her lead performance in "Selena" … or later, when she was voted Stuff Magazine’s "Sexiest Woman in the World."
Certainly, "Back-Up Plan" hasn’t gotten her off to a great new start.
True, it ranked well above the disastrous “Gigli,” which was shot with then-boyfriend Ben Affleck and started out to a miserable $3.8 million in 2003. But it fell far short of “Maid in Manhattan,” which opened to $18.7 million in 2002, and “Monster-in-Law,” which premiered to $23.1 million in 2005.
Directed by TV veteran Alan Poul ("Six Feet Under," "Big Love") and co-starring the likable but mostly unknown Alex O’Loughlin, a TV actor best known for two short-lived TV series — “Moonlight” and “Three Rivers” — the reviews were poor, with critics mostly eviscerating the script and not the actors.
One noted, for example, that “CBS Films had a love child with the Lifetime Network.”
Not helping was that Lopez was working for a new film studio that was releasing only its second picture and still trying to find its stride.
For example, after a promo for the film featuring its awkward birthing scene was shown on CBS during the Super Bowl, the studio abruptly refocused its marketing to recast the film as a fun rom-com.
Meanwhile, Lopez’s personal life isn’t helping her career, either.
She’s currently locked in a court battle with her former husband, Ojani Noa. Last fall, Lopez filed a $10 million lawsuit against Noa, who is attempting to make a movie about their time together using private videos the couple made when they were married for 11 months in 1997.
The film’s arresting title? “Escaping Cuba & Then the Mafia … How I Created Jennifer Lopez.”
The case is set to be heard in L.A. Superior Court on Sept. 8.