The 16 Best J. Lo Movies Of All Time

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Over nearly three decades, Jennifer Lopez has established herself as a multi-hyphenate talent: she’s been a Fly Girl, a Hollywood leading lady, a fashion icon whose red carpet choices necessitated the creation of Google Images, a successful recording artist, an entrepreneur, and a producer.

The through line connecting the many roles Lopez has inhabited in her career, onscreen and off, is the essence of her persona—her larger-than-life presence, undeniable star power, and dazzling charisma. This is perhaps most cogent when looking back on her filmography, a medley of thrillers, dramas, and romantic comedies, many of which have become beloved in the zeitgeist. This, according to TIME’s movie critic Stephanie Zacharek, is less a testament to the artistic value of the films than it is to Lopez’s immense talents and endless appeal, so much so that she hails Lopez “the patron saint of romantic comedies.”

With that in mind, and with her newest rom-com, Shotgun Wedding, releasing today, here’s a look back at 16 of J. Lo’s best films of all time, from Selena to Hustlers.

My Family (1995)

Although she had appeared in films before My Family, Gregory Nava’s 1995 film gave Lopez her first notable role on the big screen. The bittersweet, touching family drama centers on the challenges and triumphs that multiple generations of a Mexican-American family face after immigrating to Los Angeles. While Lopez was initially uncredited for her role as the young matriarch Maria Sanchez in the film, she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role. The film also opened up doors to another pivotal opportunity—following working with her on My Family, Nava cast Lopez in Selena.

Where to stream: Unavailable for streaming; DVDs available for purchase on Amazon

Selena (1997)

Lopez’s role as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in 1997’s Selena catapulted her to stardom. Her exuberant performance of the iconic Tejano music superstar in the film, which portrayed both Selena’s meteoric rise to fame and her untimely and tragic end, was critically acclaimed and netted Lopez her first Golden Globe nomination. The film also made Lopez the first Latina actor to earn $1 million.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Out of Sight (1998)

While Lopez had plenty of roles in action flicks before Out of Sight, this smart, fast-paced thriller set itself apart thanks to the sizzling chemistry between her and co-star George Clooney. The film is a battle of charms and wit between Clooney’s rakish bank robber and Lopez’s feisty U.S. marshal as they decide whether or not their flirtation during a high-stakes robbery attempt is motivated by love or the law.

Where to stream: Available to buy or rent on YouTube

The Wedding Planner (2001)

Lopez cemented her status as a Hollywood leading lady with her charming turn as Mary Fiore in 2001’s The Wedding Planner. Though certain elements of the movie are puzzling now (like Lopez’s character being written as Italian American), the film has become an undeniable part of the rom-com canon thanks to its sweet but kooky storyline, where Lopez’s titular character falls in love with her client’s fiancé, played by Matthew McConaughey. Lopez also made history as the first woman to simultaneously have a number one album and movie after The Wedding Planner and her sophomore album, J. Lo, released during the same week.

Where to stream: Peacock

Enough (2002)

A longtime hallmark of Lopez’s filmography is her penchant for stories about survivors. Her characters are never shrinking violets; instead, they’re marked by a measure of tenacity, strength, and the ability to overcome, even in the most dire of circumstances. There’s no better example of that than 2002’s Enough, in which Lopez’s character is a mother who flees an abusive marriage, then trains so she can exact her revenge on her violent husband in self-defense.

Where to stream: Peacock

Maid in Manhattan (2002)

In Maid in Manhattan, a reimagined Cinderella story for the early 2000s, a case of mistaken identity leads Lopez’s character Marisa, a hotel maid, to fall in love with a high-profile politician (played by Ralph Fiennes) who’s staying at her place of employment. While some details of the film haven’t aged well (Marisa’s son’s preoccupation with Richard Nixon and Fienne’s character’s seemingly conservative politics), the film’s hopeful narrative and Lopez’s winsome performance makes it a staple of the romance genre.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Gigli (2003)

When this rom-com starring Ben Affleck as a lovelorn, down-on-his-luck gangster and Lopez as a henchwoman for hire released, it was universally panned thanks to an astoundingly bad premise and an equally horrific script that relied on low-key racism, homophobia, and ableism for laughs. What makes this film significant, however, is its role in the cultural zeitgeist. Affleck and Lopez, who met on the set of the film, began a much-publicized romance (immortalized in her “Jenny From the Block music video”) that led to an engagement and their infamous hybrid couple name, Bennifer, making them one of the most notorius and ubiquitous duos at the height of celebrity tabloid culture in the early aughts. Now, with their romance rekindled nearly 20 years later, Gigli with all its flaws and shortcomings, might just be worth revisiting.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Monster-in-Law (2005)

Lopez shows off her comedic chops to great effect in the screwball 2005 comedy Monster-in-Law. Ahead of her impending nuptials, Lopez’s spunky bride Charlie’s romance with her soon-to-be-husband Kevin takes a back seat to her major issues with his difficult mother Viola, played by a formidable and hilarious Jane Fonda. The slapstick tussles between Fonda and Lopez, who both bring their A-game to this extremely silly film, will keep you in stitches.

Where to stream: Available to buy or rent on YouTube

El Cantante (2006)

Lopez starred opposite her then-husband Marc Anthony in 2006’s El Cantante, a colorful biopic about the life and career of Puerto Rican salsa singer Héctor Lavoe. While the film received less than rave reviews, the film is worth a watch thanks to the sizzling chemistry between Anthony and Lopez, who played Lavoe’s wife, Nilda “Puchi” Roman Perez with incredible charisma and charm.

Where to stream: Hulu, HBO Max

The Back-Up Plan (2010)

The rom-com got a surprising update with 2010’s The Back-Up Plan, in which Lopez’s character Zoe, an independent woman living in the city, decides to pursue single motherhood. After conceiving via artificial insemination, however, she meets the love of her life, leading to her pursuing a new relationship while preparing for parenthood.

Where to stream: Paramount+, YouTube

The Boy Next Door (2015)

Lopez co-produced and starred in this horror film, which centers on a suburban teacher with a philandering husband who has a one-night stand with the boy next door, before finding out that he’s a student at the high school where she teaches. His subsequent obsession with her leads to her fighting for her life and the lives of those she loves. Is the film corny and unrealistic? Absolutely. But it follows in a tradition of many other great horror films in that respect, and Lopez gives it her all.

Where to stream: Available to buy or rent on YouTube

Second Act (2018)

Lopez is at her best when she plays an underdog, which is why 2018’s Second Act works so well. Lopez plays the middle-aged Maya, an assistant manager at a value store, who dares to start a new life after she’s passed up for role at work that she’s more than experienced for because she doesn’t have a college degree. Relying on her street smarts, she rebrands as a corporate bigwig, but re-encounters a secret from her past that makes her re-evaluate the life she wants. The story is undeniably feel-good, but earnest and excellent performances by Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, and Milo Ventigmigalia make this worth a watch.

Where to stream: Hulu

Hustlers (2019)

Lopez gave the performance of her career as Ramona, the street-smart and maternal dancer who heads up a scheme that scammed finance bros at a NYC strip club after the 2008 financial crash impacts the club’s profit margin. The film, which was based on a true story, led to unanimous praise and critical acclaim for Lopez (also a producer on the film) who was nominated for multiple awards for the role, including a Golden Globe and an Independent Spirit award.

Where to stream: Hulu

Marry Me (2022)

Lopez leans into the rom-com formula she’s perfected over the last three decades of her career with Marry Me, in which her character, Kat, a global pop superstar, marries a complete stranger on stage at one of her concerts after discovering that her fiancé is cheating on her. Co-starring Owen Wilson and singer Maluma as the stranger and the cheating fiancé, respectively, Lopez is as luminous and magnetic as ever in this silly and sweet movie, which loyal fans of hers may recognize as skewing dangerously close to art imitating life, following her 2021 split from former fiancé Alex Rodriguez, following allegations of his infidelity.

Where to stream: Peacock

Shotgun Wedding (2023)

Lopez delivers thrills and laughs in equal measure in this rollicking romp of a rom-com. As Darcy, a bride who’s juggling the complicated and chaotic dynamics of her family and her soon-to-be in-laws ahead of her epic destination wedding to her hapless former baseball player fiancé (sound familiar?) Tom (Josh Duhamel), Lopez makes for a lovable and spunky heroine who proves her mettle after pirates take her wedding party and their parents hostage. The movie is endlessly silly, but ultimately enjoyable, blending J. Lo’s identities as both a rom-com queen and a veritable action star.

Where to stream: Amazon Prime

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