Jennifer Lopez, a cultural phenomenon who burst onto the entertainment scene in the late 1980s, is now recognized as one of Hollywood’s top triple-threat entertainers. Thanks to her 2002 hit single, Lopez is also known as “J.Lo” or “Jenny from the Block.” She first gained notoriety as a dancer on the sketch comedy TV show “In Living Color.”
Her first films include “My Little Girl,” her feature film debut, as well as “Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7,” “My Family,” an independent drama, “Money Train,” the Robin Williams-starring “Jack,” and the crime thriller “Blood and Wine.”
In 1997, Lopez made her film debut in Gregory Nava’s “Selena,” for which she received a Golden Globe nod for her leading role as the late musical icon. She began a long career in action that year by starring in the thrillers “Anaconda” and “U-Turn.”
Since then, Lopez has appeared in a staggering 26 feature films as an actor or voice actor. Not included are her seven performances in documentaries, such as the Netflix film “Jennifer Lopez: Halftime” from 2022. The intensely private documentary looked into Lopez’s ongoing drive to succeed.
If someone as talented and driven as Jennifer Lopez thinks she’s not up to snuff, we’re all screwed, writes Kate Erbland in her review of the movie for IndieWire. “Even with her current run of accolades and successes, Lopez has never lost the desire to succeed (or, it seems, gained the ability to settle into the feeling of that success).
The most recognized recording artist in the world is not always able to showcase all of her varied talents in the best Jennifer Lopez movies. Even “Selena” wouldn’t let her sing, and “Anaconda” unhappily doesn’t require much dancing. However, Lopez’s best movies constantly make use of her gravitational star power, allowing her sun-centered energy to enhance and direct the people she plays.
Here are the top 10 Jennifer Lopez films in order, in observance of Lopez’s birthday on July 24 and, let’s face it, her recent marriage to her new spouse, Ben Affleck, an ex-boyfriend.
Unfortunately, the movies “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl,” which both starred Jennifer, were excluded. However, Lopez’s visually bizarre performance in the horror film “The Cell” didn’t help matters either. The standard for J.Lo’s perfect 10 is already quite high.
10. “The Boy Next Door” (2015)
The focus of Rob Cohen’s film “The Boy Next Door” is high school teacher Claire Peterson, who is trying to move on after divorcing her husband. Claire regrets sleeping with Noah (Ryan Guzman), her 19-year-old next-door neighbor and tries to break things off right away. However, Noah makes intense advances at Claire a la “Fatal Attraction,” and a cat-and-mouse game soon starts.
Although Lopez gives a fantastic performance, “The Boy Next Door” isn’t a particularly original erotic thriller. However, it does include some really humorous double entendres. In the final act, Lopez performs some excellent stunt work as Claire faces off against her stalker in a genuinely entertaining action scene that also marks the debut of EpiPens as legitimate slasher weapons.
9. “The Wedding Planner” (2001)
The Wedding Planner stars Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, two heavyweights of the aughts rom-com genre. On the one hand, filmmaker Adam Shankman’s 2001 tale of Mary, a wedding planner who falls for one of her clients, has some fairly forced crap going on.
The film never really moves past the revolting nature of that nauseating idea. It is feasible to enjoy McConaughey and Lopez’s relationship apart from the rest of the film since the parts that do enthrall have such glittering loveliness. They kissed in the rain, really? Iconic.
8. “Second Act” (2018)
“You are the only one who can stop you.” That is the slogan for filmmaker Peter Segal’s passionately idealistic romantic comedy “Second Act,” which is about a clever lady who fabricates a CV in order to secure the future she deserves. The 2018 movie does occasionally fall short in terms of its plot, depending on a tired boss lady storyline that felt dated at the time it was released.
Nevertheless, Lopez does wonders with the flimsy writing, imbuing her portrayal with endearing charm. Sharing unforgettable sequences with Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, and Milo Ventimiglia, she also brings out the best in her co-stars. The sole improvement? Her collection of perfectly pressed and spotless blouses, skirts, and suits (complete with killer heels, of course).
7. “Monster-in-Law” (2005)
In Robert Luketic’s romantic comedy “Monster-in-Law,” Lopez co-stars with Jane Fonda as the free-spirited Charlie, who marries handsome doctor Kevin in a spectacular ceremony (Michael Vartan). Fonda steals the show as Kevin’s mother, the gloriously evil Viola, a talk show star past her prime who hasn’t been seen on the big screen since “Stanley and Iris.”
Viola is prepared to go to any lengths to keep her only boy safe from the wrong woman—or, at least, from the woman she believes to be the wrong woman—and Fonda executes those cunning beats with a foreboding panache. Lopez, who portrays yet another gorgeous rom-com character you can’t wait to see walk down the aisle, is the movie’s true star.
6. “Marry Me” (2022)
In the opening scene of “Marry Me,” international music diva Kat Valdez (Lopez), who is getting married in front of millions of people, learns that her fiance Bastian (Maluma) is cheating on her. So, in an act of spontaneity, she chooses to marry Charlie Gilbert, a math teacher (Owen Wilson).
Before they discover an irrational attraction to one another, the two are compelled to try to unravel the PR nightmare they’ve created. “Marry Me” is your standard forgery of a romantic comedy (“The Wedding Date,” “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” etc.), but it earns extra marks for the surprisingly endearing cadence Wilson and Lopez adopt. Not to mention that Lopez’s lavish costumes in and of themselves are worthy of a feature film.
5. “Anaconda” (1997)
The fact that Lopez gets to play a tough who is fighting for her life on the Amazon River makes “Anaconda” tremendously entertaining. Certain aspects of the story are corny, and the practical effects are a tad cheesy.
But there’s a reason “Anaconda” has a cult following: It’s dependably thrilling, really original, and actually dares to “go there” with its creature film premise. You can actually make out a man from the anaconda. Lopez gives it his all and remains upbeat the entire time. Also top-notch actors Jon Voight and Ice Cube.
4. “Out of Sight” (1998)
Lopez stars opposite George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight,” a crime comedy that also stars Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, and Ving Rhames and is based on Elmore Leonard’s novel of the same name.
A bank robbery romance between Lopez’s character, a federal marshal, and his turns into a sarcastic edge-of-your-seat adventure. Lopez and Clooney both have noteworthy performances, sharing the spotlight equally.
3. “Selena” (1997)
“Selena,” a traditional artist biopic directed by Gregory Nava, follows the life of the Tejano singer from her ambitious upbringing to her heartbreaking passing at the age of just 23 in 1995. With her radiant performance, Lopez rises to the challenge of portraying a pop diva in the way that only a true pop star can.
Lopez has the opportunity to fully come into her own in a performance analogous to Lady Gaga’s role in “A Star Is Born” because the performance is textured with a sophisticated grasp of the huge demands that come with celebrity. Although Lopez doesn’t sing in “Selena,” she gives her lip-syncing performances ferocious energy.
2. “Maid in Manhattan” (2002)
By far Lopez’s best romantic comedy is “Maid in Manhattan.” The 2002 film, which was directed by Wayne Wang, centers on a hotel maid who falls for a visiting politician (Ralph Fiennes) who misidentifies her as an affluent socialite (Natasha Richardson).
The Cinderella story that comes next is extremely real and sweet in a way that makes it seem out-of-date. But Lopez’s charming portrayal of single mother Marisa, which gives her plenty of screen time with both her romantic interest and her little kid, catches the classic rom-com arc with enduring precision (Tyler Posey).
1. “Hustlers” (2019)
In the pop-heavy spectacle “Hustlers,” directed by Lorene Scafaria, dancers are depicted as stealing from the wealthy and giving to themselves in a compelling true story. Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, and Lizzo and Cardi B make cameo cameos in the 2019 crime drama’s cast.
But Lopez is the star of the show, putting on a performance of her career-best as ringmaster Ramona Vega. Lopez is a force of nature presence who exudes the vivacious showmanship she has spent her whole career honing.
The closest Lopez has ever come to receiving an Oscar nomination was for “Hustlers,” and even though she didn’t win, her brief stint as Ramona is still widely regarded as a success for showcasing Lopez’s best skills.