Jennifer Lopez is an icon.  In “Halftime”, she still has something to prove.

Jennifer Lopez is an icon. In “Halftime”, she still has something to prove.

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The most revealing 20 seconds of Jennifer Lopez’s new Netflix documentary, “Halftime,” doesn’t happen until after the sequence ends. After a triumphant scene of Lopez singing at President Biden’s inauguration, the screen fades to black and a title card appears.

“To date, Jennifer Lopez has: sold 80 million records with 15 billion streams; starred in nearly 40 films, grossing $3 billion; attracted more than 350 million social media followers; and generated more than $5 billion in consumer sales as a brand,” the documentary reminds audiences after an hour-and-a-half-long film chronicling arguably the busiest six months of Lopez’s career, from his star turn in “Hustlers” at his electrifying Super Bowl Halftime Show.

But none of this is enough. Because it’s never enough when it comes to J-Lo, a woman who still functions as both icon and underdog some 30 years after moving to Hollywood. So the documentary — or should we say an extended behind-the-scenes pass with the artist’s endorsement — about the multi-hyphenated talent can’t end without shouting out his stats.

“All my life I’ve fought and struggled to be heard, to be seen, to be taken seriously,” says Lopez, a nonstop artist who celebrated her 50th birthday in 2019 with a 25-city tour.

With a medley of behind-the-scenes footage of the woman-of-the-hour jumping from gig to gig (and a cameo appearance from her fiancé once again, Ben Affleck), “Halftime” isn’t just a movie. on the 2020 Super Bowl performance that should have stopped all naysayers. In the documentary’s most illuminating moments, the glow of Award Show J-Lo and the sweat of Dance Rehearsal J-Lo give way to occasional glimpses of the real J-Lo, a woman who has been erasing the asterisks on her record for the beginning .

The middle child of three daughters, Lopez wasn’t “the smartest” or “the singer,” the Bronx native explains. She was “the dancer”. That tag stuck with her when she debuted as a “Fly Girl” dancer on the sketch show “In Living Color.” But she wanted to break into the cinema. “Seriously, I’m an actress,” she recalled telling agents, fighting to get someone to represent her.

Fast forward through decades of films, albums and outdoor adventures to 2019’s hugs “Hustlers,” which Lopez starred in and produced. Almost immediately, the actress earned golden statue buzz for her “comeback” role as stripper Svengali Ramona.

And while “Halftime” follows Lopez for the highs, like her first Golden Globe nomination since her breakout role in 1997’s “Selena” – “It took 20 years and 25, 30 more movies to get her,” jokes Lopez – he stays with her for the inevitable stockings too.

After losing the Globe to Laura Dern, Lopez, wearing her custom Valentino gown, walks into a hotel suite full of her longtime crew and delivers a nonchalant shrug that would break anyone’s heart. .

“I really thought I had a chance. I felt like I had let everyone down,” she later said. Moments like this reveal the real star of ‘Halftime’ – the person outside of tabloid covers, late-night punchlines and “South Park” parodies, all is not well, no matter how star-studded you are.

Even the Super Bowl performance comes with a caveat. Instead of headlining alone, Lopez is invited to share the main stage with Shakira, making the giant gig seem both a boost and a setback. “It was an insult to say that you needed two Latinas to do the work that an artist has done historically,” says Lopez’s longtime manager Benny Medina. But after a few f-bombs of frustration, J-Lo takes matters into her own hands — like everything else — and uses the moment to make a political statement meant to counter the anti-immigrant jingoism unleashed by then-President Donald Trump. .

Watching Lopez on screen, it’s like she’s still fighting against that label she got as a kid: not the singer and not the smartest. While “Halftime” can never fully answer the question of who exactly Lopez is, since the star herself admits she won’t reveal everything, the simple act of weaving her many threads together makes the point clear: she is all. She doesn’t fit in a large box, which perhaps makes it easier to minimize her impact.

This refusal to be tied down is on full display in a scene between the singer and her musical director as they sit down to chop up Lopez’s allotted six minutes of solo time on the Super Bowl stage.

“I just need my J-Lo moment,” says its director.

“Which?” Lopez asks. “There’s hip-hop J-Lo, funk J-Lo, Latin J-Lo… and Mama J-Lo. “Take me down but I can’t fall” J-Lo. ‘You’re trying to write me off but I’m not fucking going’ J-Lo.

Throughout the buzz and the hits, Lopez continues to plug in. Preparing for the Super Bowl, we see the actress filming “Marry Me,” the singer recording new albums, and the dancer shooting music videos.

“She’s a dancer who became an actress who became a singer who became a global icon,” says Lopez’s partner producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. “She is a woman of color who had the audacity to pursue her dreams.”

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