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Marry Me (A Movie Review)

Marry Me

MARRY ME (2022)

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, Sarah Silverman, John Bradley, Chloe Coleman, Michelle Buteau, Stephen Wallem, Jameela Jamil, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Brady Noon, Connor Noon, Nicole Suarez, Justin Sylvester, Khalil Middleton, Kat Cunning, Taliyah Whitaker, Diego Lucano, Ryan Foust, Léah Jiménez Zelaya, Hoda Kotb and Jimmy Fallon.

Screenplay by John Rogers & Tami Sagher and Harper Dill.

Directed by Kat Coiro.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 112 minutes. Rated PG-13.

For a film critic, there are very few terms that strike more fear in the heart than this one: A romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. Oh, wait, there is an even scarier one: A wedding comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.

I must admit I was a little worried when I started to watch the video of Marry Me after missing it during its short theatrical run. Therefore, I must come clean – it’s better than I expected. Significantly better. It’s not great or anything, but for what it was – an exceedingly light romantic comedy about mismatched soulmates – it was actually pretty good.

Marry Me is a bit of a rip off of Notting Hill – and while it isn’t nearly as good as that film, it is taking its idea from fertile ground. (In fact, for a bit I was thinking that Owen Wilson was doing a bit of an impersonation of Hugh Grant’s befuddled-but-sweet singleton in that film, before it hit me that pretty much all of Owen Wilson’s career has been a Hugh Grant imitation without the suave British accent.)

Essentially, Lopez is playing Kat Valdez, a musical superstar who is part of a high-profile couple with a singer only known as Bastian (played by a singer only known as Maluma). They have just recorded a best-selling single called “Marry Me” (side note: for a movie about hit singers, most of the songs written for Marry Me kind of stink) and are about to get married on national television at a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, nothing goes as planned, and literally while Kat is getting ready to go onstage, a gossip column releases video of Bastian fooling around with Kat’s assistant. Kat decides to not to marry him, which makes perfect sense. What she does next does not make any sense, not in any world, not even in a rom com. But there would be no story otherwise. She randomly picks a man from the crowd who is holding a “Marry Me” sign – and asks him to marry.

Yeah, okay…

That man is Charlie Gilbert (Wilson), a middle-school math teacher who is not particularly a fan – he’s just there for his daughter. The sign wasn’t even his, his lesbian friend Parker (Sarah Silverman) had just handed it to him so she could video the meltdown on her phone. But Charlie goes up on stage and essentially agrees to marry this crazy woman he’d never met before in front of the whole world.

At first, they assume that they will have to do rounds of publicity for a few months until the story dies down. But as they spend time together acting “married,” a funny thing happens, they start to fall for each other.

So, okay, buying into the premise is a huge stretch. However, if you can swallow all that, Marry Me turns out to be a pretty charming look at an “opposites attract” relationship.

He learns about the craziness of show business and the paparazzi. He teaches her to slow down, do things for herself and to appreciate the little things in life. (She gets way too excited by the corsage he buys her when they chaperone a prom at his school together.)

And, of course, when Bastian (who is younger, hipper and sexier than Wilson – which is not all that much of a stretch, anyway) starts sniffing around trying to get Kat back, Charlie can’t decide whether to be a good guy and not stand in the way of her career and happiness, or to fight for her.

There is nothing even the tiniest bit surprising in Marry Me – but what did you expect from a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson? However, props where they are due, Marry Me handles its formula story much better than you would imagine.

I wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of films like Marry Me, but this time out they actually did it pretty well. So congratulations, Ms. Lopez and Mr. Wilson, you pulled it off. I’ll still probably pause before watching your next film together, though.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: March 28, 2022.

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