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Movie Reviews

Marry Me ★★



Director: Kat Coiro

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Sarah Silverman, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Chloe Coleman, Jimmy Fallon

Release: February 12, 2022 (UK Cinemas)

With many former rom-com queens like Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon more likely to be found in the greyer, grittier dramas these days, Jennifer Lopez has balanced a varied resume with continuing to do the Lord’s work of keeping the fluff coming. 

Marry Me sees J-Lo stepping away from her reliable movie persona as the down to earth working girl (à la Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner) and opting to essentially play herself as megastar singer Kat Valdez. In the celeb spectacle of the century, Kat is set to take to the stage and wed her fiance and fellow Latin singing sensation Bastian (Colombian musician Maluma) in front of a global audience of millions. When moments before the nuptials it’s revealed that Bastian is cheating on her, a deeply humiliated Kat decides to marry a complete stranger in the crowd. That stranger is Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) a mild-mannered maths teacher and single dad who we’re told is decidedly not a fun guy and as a result, has been dragged by his friend Parker (Sarah Silverman) and daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) to see Valdez. Parker asks Charlie to momentarily hold her giant ‘Marry Me’ sign and it’s the perfect formula! He needs to do something nonsensical to end the pain of being considered dull. She needs to do something nonsensical because things can’t get any worse. Marry Me chaotically doesn’t ask why – it asks why not?

Now husband and wife, Kat and Charlie attempt to get to know each other, with the intention to keep up appearances for six months before quietly divorcing. Despite the role clearly not being a stretch for Lopez, it allows her to lean in on a somewhat more personal level than previously seen. Ridiculed by Jimmy Fallon for her efforts as a hopeless romantic, it’s impossible not to see the parallels in the commentary around Lopez’s own love life over the years. Hitting another nerve is Kat’s revelation that even with her immense success she has never received an award. In the Oscar snub heard around the world, Lopez was criminally overlooked for her role in 2019’s Hustlers and as the silliness unfolds on-screen, it’s still hard not to daydream about what should have been.

It’s not the wildly ridiculous premise that sours Marry Me – one could argue this is exactly what we came for. Rather, Lopez and Wilson do their best to sell viewers on the Notting Hill of it all, but a painfully contrived script telegraphs so much of the final act and an overcommitment to shoehorning a number of (albeit very catchy) song performances bloats the runtime and hobbles the narrative to the extent that the one aspect of the story that we do need to believe in – the budding romance between our leads – feels undercooked.

Marry Me doesn’t need to sell the audience on its logic, but on its heart and unfortunately for a film that aims to celebrate love in all its unexpected glory, it comes off as far too calculated. 

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