A film about Jennifer Lopez and her performance at the Super Bowl in 2020 was bound to generate headlines, but the Netflix documentary “Halftime” makes sure it happens. The multihyphenate’s accomplishments can stand on their own without, for instance, a single publicity baiting remark from her fiancé, the actor Ben Affleck.
His cameo is only a small part of the brand management at play here as the director Amanda Micheli does her best to effectively tell a full-bodied story that reaches beyond what it seems Lopez wants you to know.
A political moment — like when Lopez calls President Trump an expletive for his remarks connecting Mexican immigrants and crime — is only a political moment for so long, and then it’s back to rehearsal or the makeup chair. Complex topics like being a woman in a male-dominated movie industry and Hollywood double standards are explored briefly; more often, Lopez comments on fan-service subjects like the tabloids and that iconic Versace dress from the 2000 Grammys.
The most captivating arc is how and why Lopez became so outspoken during the Trump era. She says that worrying about her children’s futures, and “living in a United States she didn’t recognize,” galvanized her. But even those scenes build tediously to what should feel like a more triumphant ending, when she shares why she couldn’t, in good conscience, agree to take the Super Bowl halftime stage without standing against anti-immigration measures. By the end, Lopez wins her fight with the National Football League to include children in cages as a human rights statement.
In “Halftime,” she is seen in top J. Lo form, an empowering Hollywood icon with an inspirational story to share. Is that reason enough to watch this scattershot portrait? It depends on if she had your love to begin with.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch on Netflix.