From ‘Hustlers’ To ‘The Cell,’ Jennifer Lopez’s 10 Best Movie Roles
Jennifer Lopez is on top of the world right now. Hustlers is a surprise box office smash (it raked in a whopping $33 million over the weekend) and her brilliant performance as Ramona is already generating Oscar buzz. If the ultimate triple threat is rewarded with awards recognition it will be long overdue. After all, J.Lo has been churning out great movies since the 1990s. While critics have never been particularly kind, films like Selena, Maid In Manhattan and, more recently, Second Act are beloved by fans.
In honor of Jenny finally getting her due, I’ve rounded up ten of the multi-hyphenate’s best movie roles. Yes, I know there are some glaring omissions (An Unfinished Life and Shall We Dance are great films, but J.Lo’s role in each is comparatively small). But this ultimately comes down to personal taste, and I have a soft spot for the flawless 50-year-old’s genre fare and sappy romantic comedies. Revisit 10 of Jennifer’s most iconic roles below.
10. The Boy Next Door (2015)
I was going to describe this as a guilty pleasure, but I feel no guilt. The Boy Next Door is a pulpy thriller about Claire, an impossibly hot, newly single woman who falls in lust with a much younger man. Unfortunately, he turns out to be a bit of a psycho. It wouldn’t work without a luminous turn from Ms. Lopez.
9. Anaconda (1997)
Annihilated by critics, but a box office smash that spawned four sequels, Anaconda is one hell of a good time. J.Lo plays Terri Flores — a film director venturing into the Amazon with a bunch of sleaze balls. A giant snake wreaks havoc with the expedition and our heroine is left to fend it off. A minor genre classic.
8. U-Turn (1997)
U-Turn is one of the most slept-on thrillers of the ’90s. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring an A-List cast including Sean Penn and Nick Nolte, this gritty, little movie failed to find much of an audience upon release. Which is a shame given Jennifer’s scene-stealing role as a small-town femme fatale.
7. Second Act (2018)
The sleeper hit of 2018 proved that audiences will still make the trek to their local multiplex to see fun, female-oriented fare. Jenny shines as Maya, a hard-working mom who decides to take on the corporate world with the help of her friends and a little deception. This is a perfect popcorn movie.
6. Maid In Manhattan (2002)
Aww, remember the early ’00s when romantic comedies dominated the box office instead of men in spandex? Maid In Manhattan stands out as one of the most charming movies from that era. J.Lo plays a hotel maid who catches the eye of a senatorial candidate. He mistakenly thinks she’s a socialite and hijinks ensue.
5. Enough (2002)
If you need pre-Hustlers proof that Jennifer can handle meaty, dramatic roles, look no further than Enough. She stars as Slim Hiller, a victim of extreme domestic violence. The film documents her transformation from a scared housewife to a fearless warrior who refuses to take shit from anyone. 17 years later, this is still a gripping watch.
4. The Cell (2000)
The Cell is one of my favorite sci-fi/horror (it is strangely hard to classify) films of the early ’00s. In part due to the hitmaker’s convincing turn as a child psychologist, who enters her patient’s brain via virtual reality technology. What follows is an explosion of color, gore and outrageous outfits that was well and truly ahead of its time.
3. Out Of Sight (1998)
Steven Soderbergh’s film adaption of Elmore Leonard’s Out Of Sight is an absolute knockout. Jennifer won rave reviews for her performance as no-bullshit detective Karen Sisco and her chemistry with George Clooney is off the charts. She deserved awards for the scene in the trunk alone.
2. Selena (1997)
Few films are as loved and frequently revisited as Selena. A moving biopic of the late, great Selena Quintanilla that recounts her rise to fame in loving detail. It also tackles her senseless murder with tact and dignity. J.Lo was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination for her winning portrayal of the Tejano legend.
1. Hustlers (2019)
For a full rundown of my thoughts on Lorene Scafaria’s excellent Hustlers, read my review. I’ll just reiterate that Jennifer deserves all the praise she’s getting for bringing Ramona to life as a multi-faceted antiheroine for the ages. It’s a career-defining, Oscar-worthy performance.