What’s the Story: Pop superstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) is about to get married to her fiance Bastain (Maluma) before an audience of her loyal fans. However, seconds before the ceremony, she learns about him cheating on her with her assistant. In a moment of inspired insanity, Kat locks eyes with a total stranger, a divorced math teacher named Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), in the crowd holding a “Marry Me” sign and marries him on the spot. As forces conspire to separate the unlikely newlyweds, they must soon decide if two people from such different worlds can find true love together.
There’s usually one movie that will have millions of couples searching to watch on that special day of love, and this year happened to be Marry Me. For me, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake of seeing a movie like this alone in the theater, so I chose to watch it from the comfort of my home. Fans might’ve also paid attention to the fact this marks the long-awaited return of Lopez acting in romantic comedies again. As someone who loves the occasional rom-com when done well, the trailer pointed me in the direction of thinking we have another lame one on our hands. I just couldn’t care less because even though she made a name for herself in the 2000s with these movies, they’ve never come across as pleasant. I mean, has anyone seen Gigli? Immediately, this was going for Notting Hill mixed with Maid in Manhattan. But, honestly, for a rom-com that would’ve made a big deal if it came out two decades ago, I didn’t find myself loathing Marry Me.
There was no way I found this to be pretty enjoyable, right? I honestly thought this would be one disposable movie that’ll appeal to the target audience more, but it wasn’t. I didn’t even know it was based on a graphic novel by the same name by Bobby Crosby while doing some background information the day before I watched this. But when I was sitting through Kat Coiro’s film, I was expecting to be deeply moved at no point when the premise isn’t the most realistic. Was this trying to be one-up and become this century’s Notting Hill? Maybe, but what can be complimented is that this goes for a contemporary tale of two different people doing this unexpected marriage for a publicity stunt, yet you’re wondering where it goes.
But when its placement fits appropriately more with the other mid-2000s romantic comedies that will find a sudden resurgence a decade later, this wasn’t painful to get behind and more of a casual experience you won’t be too embarrassed to talk about. Not that everyone should want this as the next cinematic achievement because it really isn’t. But it comes to show what it will be like if a total stranger gets romantically involved with one of the world’s most attention-worthy celebrities. Let’s say if I were in a position where someone like Hailee Steinfeld asked me to marry her in front of a million people, that would be a definitive yes as someone doesn’t consider themselves special. But one’s willing to dream, can I? It shows how people would react suddenly when Wilson’s Charlie doesn’t stand out in appearance and how he becomes more recognizable through the lenses of social media and how we perceive certain people in real-life and online.
The thing that efficiently carried the movie was liking the pairing of Lopez and Wilson together; the Anaconda reunion the world wasn’t expecting ever to see. Rarely will I buy into the chemistry of Lopez and her romantic interest, but in here, it was ultimately cute the way they handled their characters. At first glance, it would be hard to know if the two of them make sense romantically. However, they play the type the two of them are best known for, and I went along with it for what it’s worth. Lopez has been stepping up her game over the past few years, as she gives off a likable performance as Kat, someone you don’t want to be on the verge of a breakdown after what happened. She deserves to be with a guy whose heart is in the right place. And I’m always generally kind towards Wilson as the good-hearted Charlie, who gets caught up in all this excitement when he doesn’t even know who Kat is. Pity at first, being with her shows he can be fun and going along to see where this will go. So this is why as a couple they were pretty delightful.
You also got your supporting characters to round everything out, with Sarah Silverman being her usual self as Charlie friend Parker, John Bradley (nice to see him pop up in movies now) as Kat’s manager Collin, and Colombian singer Maluma as Bastain, which I feel didn’t need to include him during the second act if they wanted him to get back together with Kat in some way.
Yeah, anyone will go into this and expect the screenplay by Harper Dill, John Rogers and Tami Sahger to be full of typical cliches to hold you over this story. You have an idea of how it will flow if you watch the trailer, and it’s easy to tell it won’t be a game-changer if there ever was one. The predictable fallout of the character’s relationship is inescapable, yet I still cared about the journey, believe it or not. The laughs were about the amount to get through; nothing had me falling out of my chair. And the soundtrack isn’t half bad, though they took me out when it’s a scene or two devoted to Lopez and/or Maluma performing. On the plus side, I’m starting to get a soft spot for the single “On My Head.” Not too bad of a song.
Overall, Marry Me is clichéd where it won’t push the rom-com genre forward, but it was surprisingly decent and cute. Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson’s onscreen charisma made it watchable for a silly premise like this. A lot better than I initially expected, and it’s made out to be one of the few movies around Valentine’s Day I didn’t hate myself watching. Is there enough to consider it the first surprise of the year? I’d say so. Will this be well-liked by everyone? Absolutely not, but I guess it wasn’t too bad from my view and it’s worth checking out.
Marry Me is currently playing in theaters and is streaming on Peacock Premium.
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