Jennifer Lopez’s ‘This Is Me…Now’ is A+ celebrity work

Is anyone alive better at being a celebrity than Jennifer Lopez? Whether you know her from Grammy-nominated albums, her barrage of absolutely winsome romantic comedies, her bold turns in sexy comedies like Out of Sight and Hustlers, or even her tabloid-plagued love life, everyone and their mother and their grandmother knows JLo. A multi-hyphenate pop icon, she’s forged the persona of a glamour girl who knows how to get down. She is known to us, yet untouchable. And with her new visual album This Is Me…Now: A Love Story, she delivers something extravagant, spectacular, and unapologetically indulgent. 

Simply put, it’s marvelous.

What is This Is Me…Now: A Love Story

Jennifer Lopez in "This Is Me... Now."

Credit: Prime Video

On Feb. 16, Jennifer Lopez is unleashing her ninth studio album, This Is Me…Now, simultaneously with the visual album This Is Me…Now: A Love Story on Prime Video. Helmed by music video director Dave Meyers, this 65-minute film is a heady mix of the album’s songs and a thinly veiled autobiography of Lopez, spiced up with dance numbers, celebrity cameos, myths, astrology, and some bonkers bits far too juicy to spill in a review. 

Playing a character credited as “The Artist,” Lopez reimagines her romantic highs and lows as the stuff of classic cinema. An early love is depicted as racing a motorcycle, blissfully and recklessly across a glassy plane. An abusive relationship is imagined as a dance duet involving bondage. A broken heart is made literal — and metal — sputtering ominously in a dystopian factory reminiscent of Metropolis. And an emotional breakthrough has Lopez offering her spin on Gene Kelly’s iconic Singin’ in the Rain dance. But things get really wild when she looks to the stars. 

This Is Me…Now: A Love Story has a constellation of celeb cameos. 

Lopez has a noted interest in astrology, which she indulges whimsically in this film by reimagining a gaggle of celeb friends as personifications of the zodiac: Jane Fonda as Sagittarius, Trevor Noah as Libra, Kim Petras as Virgo, Post Malone as Leo, Keke Palmer as Scorpio, Sofia Vergara as Cancer, Jenifer Lewis as Gemini, Jay Shetty as Aries, Sadhguru as Pisces, and Neil deGrasse Tyson as Taurus. 

Together, this stellar council weighs in on the artist’s love life, noting her reputation as a “man-eater” and rooting for her through three failed marriages. (Those missteps are depicted in a slyly campy sequence where three grooms are interchangeable in a rousing dance about love and lust.) 

A traditional rom-com might follow both sides of the fated love story. This Is Me…Now is not traditional, instead firmly focusing on Lopez. That might come as a surprise to those who know her real-life husband #4, Ben Affleck, also makes an appearance in the visual album, but his role is kept cleverly to the fringes. This is Lopez’s show, brought to life by her blood, sweat, tears, songs, and refusal to look anything less than outrageously gorgeous. So yes, the constellations themselves are just as obsessed with her as we (and she) are. They gossip. They flirt. They wear gaudy gold costumes to suggest their identities. And it’s all divine. 

Jennifer Lopez is riveting and cheekily self-aware in This Is Me…Now: A Love Story. 

Jennifer Lopez dances in a factory in "This Is Me... Now."

Credit: Prime Video

This is unquestionably a vanity project. With the visual album, Lopez not only rewrites the history of her personal scandals into a charming rom-com tale of self-discovery and song, but she also shows off her lofty Rolodex via cameos. She showcases her sultry singing, her athletic dancing, her long-shining star power, and her range as an actress. 

This Is Me…Now: A Love Story offers tender moments where she woefully reflects on her regrets like a melodramatic diva, tearfully burning mementos in an open flame. She’ll cry out about her heartbreak in a support group. But even in her depression and 4 a.m. TV binges, she is a glamour girl of modern Hollywood. Her make-up remains ever flawless, like the icons before her. 

And yet, Lopez doesn’t present herself as without problems. Much of the humor from this visual album comes from her interactions with a gaggle of greatesties, whose chief function is to snark over her every move. (Think the trio from Bridget Jones’s Diary.) There are spicy one-liners, kooky reaction shots, and the comedy trope of showing the artist is a mess because she is wearing — gasp! — a cheetah-print coat! Within these moments, Lopez leans into her rom-com razzle-dazzle, portraying a kind of female messiness that is non-threatening and charming above all else. Basically, her bringing home a fuckboy only to get read to filth by her friends is as relatable as Lopez will get here. And good for her! 

Jennifer Lopez is an unstoppable pop diva.

Pop music thrives on glamour, spectacle, and big emotions. And that is solidly where This Is Me…Now: A Love Story lives. It’s a celebration of the glossy exterior that covers the shattered heart that kept beating, no matter how broken. Lopez doesn’t need to show us authenticity in her pain. She doesn’t owe it to us. That’s not how this relationship works. She is a star — she dazzles us. And in exchange, maybe we remember that behind the glitter all is not gold. 

Rather than pour out her agony in gritty scenes with a bare face and mumblecore dialogue, Lopez leans into the areas that have served her well for decades. Her rage at those who besmirch her reputation is channeled into hip hop dance moves and nodding lyrics. Her regret fuels a soulful song as she’s surrounded by contorting contemporary dancers. Her hope radiates in earnest dialogue about believing in love. 

In the end, This Is Me…Now: A Love Story is a celebration not so much of romantic love, but of Lopez’s journey of self-acceptance and self-love. It’s bursting with the kind of confidence more often allowed to rock stars (and usually only male ones at that). But Lopez is not one to shrink herself for the comfort of others. She is this movie’s gravitational pull, drawing us all into her bombastic fantasies. And it’s easy — nay, it’s a pleasure — to be pulled into their sway.  

In the end, This Is Me…Now: A Love Story is as grandiose as it is thrilling, its audacity cackling at haters with every over-the-top bit. If you had wanted feigned humbleness, don’t look to pop icons. Look to politicians. JLo isn’t playing that game. 

How to watch: This Is Me…Now: A Love Story debuts on Prime Video Feb. 16.