How Good of an Actress Is J. Lo, Really? 8 of Her Performances, Ranked From Worst to Best

Tomorrow, Jennifer Lopez and Viola Davis‘ Lila & Eve arrives in theaters, a Thelma and Louise-esque romp about two women dishing out vigilante-style justice to avenge the death of Davis’ son (or, something). The film’s already getting some pretty harsh reviews, which made us wonder if J. Lo has trouble picking the right films to work on, or if she really just needs to stop her pursuit of acting all together. Here, we looked back on some of the more popular J. Lo movies, ranked from the absolute worst to the absolute best:

GIGLI, Martin Brest

In what was probably a hollow attempt to capitalize on Bennifer-mania, this box-office bomb regularly appears on “worst films of all time” lists, and for obvious reasons. Unsympathetic characters, a convoluted plot (wanna-be gangster kidnaps a mentally challenged man, and J. Lo’s just…there for some reason, doing yoga) and a surprising lack of chemistry between Affleck and Lopez, despite being an actual couple at the time it was filmed, all coalesce in an embarrassing endeavor.

THE BOY NEXT DOOR, Rob Cohen

This stalker thriller had a lot of promise, not necessarily to be a great film, but at least to be a guilty so-bad-it’s-good pleasure. Miraculously it fell short of that dubious honor, with Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian writing, “for a would-be cult classic, this could have been much more.”

ANACONDA, Luis Llosa

This serpentine suspense movie was basically the ‘90s version of Snakes on a Plane: high-concept, horrible acting, laughable more so than horrifying. Nominated for 6 Golden Raspberry Awards (J. Lo, luckily, evaded a nomination), it’s a good thing she appeared in a much better film the same year (we’ll get to that soon.)

MAID IN MANHATTAN, Wayne Wang

Your typical rom-com with a Cinderella complex. Ranking at not-her-best-yet-not-the-worst-movie-ever, Maid in Manhattan is a feel good story about a New York hotel maid (Lopez) who’s mistaken for a socialite by a senatorial candidate (Ralph Fiennes) after trying on a wealthy woman’s dress. They have an enchanting night, fall madly in love, etc. etc. Something about this plot line is slightly offensive and stereotypical, but it was the early aughts, after all.

THE WEDDING PLANNER, Adam Shankman

This is definitely Lopez’s most comfortable territory: a light-hearted romantic comedy in the tradition of happily ever after and a handsome, hunky dude with frosted tips (Matthew McConaughey). In this movie, Lopez is a successful city wedding planner who breaks her own biggest rule to never fall in love. Let’s check a “maybe” for this RSVP.

MONSTER-IN-LAW, Robert Luketic

J. Lo + Jane Fonda? Doesn’t even matter how cringe-worthy some of the scenes are in this movie, it definitely ranks high for pure camp factor alone. Charlotte (Lopez) finally finds the man of her dreams, but his mother (Fonda) will stop at nothing to destroy the relationship. Wacky hijinks ensue. Of course. It may not highlight J. Lo’s true ability, but at least she’s having fun with the role. Bonus points for an Elaine Stritch cameo.

THE CELL, Tarsem Singh

Her makeup is enough reason to consider this one of her masterpieces, but this slightly surreal thriller shows J. Lo has pretty decent dramatic skills. The story follows a psychologist (Lopez) convinced by an FBI agent (Vince Vaughn) to use experimental technology to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to find his latest victim. And with visuals that have such vast inspiration from Damien Hirst to Madonna’s “Bedtime Story” video, it’s overall one of her better films.

SELENA, Gregory Nava

Really, did you think anything else would make the cut? The biopic where Lopez plays the cherished Tejano music star whose life was tragically cut short was, as Robert Ebert said, her “star-making performance.” Though her film career has been shaky ever since, her innocence, passion and raw stage presence in Selena prove she’s a star.

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