Even with some odd directional choices, it’s hard not to fall in love with Marry Me, Lopez’s latest effort.
When you think of Rom-Coms, many people will think of some of our greatest leading ladies of the past. We have Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, and of course, Jennifer Lopez. At a time that most of these actresses have been moving past this genre to other projects such as dramatic television shows or having their own production companies, there is still that rare time where they return back to their roots. This can be great for many reasons. For starters, these actresses are a lot more seasoned, so they bring a lot more to any character than ever before. Also in recent times, we have had a shift in the narratives of Rom-Coms where they have become less stereotypical and, if they do conform to stereotypes, they are self-aware about it. In the case of Marry Me, leading lady Jennifer Lopez definitely delivers as to what a modern Rom-Com could be, not only with a decently original story but with performances that are a lot better than what was needed to sell the story.
Marry Me stars Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) as Kat Valdez, a pop superstar who is about to get married to her fiancé in front of millions of her fans. Right before she is about to go on stage and exchange her vows, it is revealed to the whole world that her fiancé is cheating on her with her assistant. In a moment of heartbreak, Kat still goes on stage and gets married, but with a total stranger with whom she randomly locks eyes. In an effort to maintain her image, Kat decides to stay married to this stranger named Charlie, played by Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers), and get to know him, changing both of their lives forever.
Trust me, I also rolled my eyes at this premise when I first saw the trailer, but there is something so charming about this particular love story. Starting off with one of the main highlights, we all know that there is a certain Rom-Com formula that has been in place for years. The girl meets a guy, they fall in love and it’s great, something happens that pulls them apart, and someone realizes that they are stupid and make a grand gesture to get them back, which of course works. While Marry Me doesn’t necessarily do anything new with this trope, adding the pop star element and having the script be aware that, had this movie taken place fifteen years ago, the gender roles would have been reversed. This makes the film feel just fresh enough that it’s almost impossible to not be totally up for whatever ups and downs this ride takes you on.
Not only does the story feel fresh, but the performances go beyond the expectations that almost anyone would set for a studio Rom-Com like this one. Lopez’s performance as a superstar is definitely influenced by her real life, but that is what makes it seem so authentic. In a role that she could easily make herself the center of every scene, she is able to stand her ground in a way that highlights her scene partners, especially her love interest. This performance, coupled with some undeniably great original songs, makes this one of Lopez’s best performances, not only as a romantic lead but of her career.
On top of this, both Wilson and Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph) don’t really give us anything new in their perspective roles, but are still loads of fun to watch, carrying the majority of the comedy on their shoulders, Silverman in particular. Unfortunately, the good performances stop here. While most of the supporting cast does fine with the small amount of screen time they are given, Maluma, who plays Kat’s ex-fiancé, doesn’t make a strong feature film debut. Arguably, playing the film’s villain, he doesn’t do much with what he is given, causing the viewer to question why Kat was with him in the first place.
While Marry Me still does deliver in many ways, some of the stylistic choices are a little questionable, which many times hurts portions of this movie. Throughout the film and particularly with some of the classroom scenes, there is the use of fish-eye that completely doesn’t fit the vibe of what is going on in the scene. Even though there isn’t an overly extensive use of it, it can get very distracting and is pretty pointless to have just for random takes sprinkled throughout. On top of this, there is a heavy reliance on social media, and we see part of the film’s important moments through an Instagram live screen. Even though the use of social media is important to the overall story, seeing some of Marry Me’s most emotional moments through this manner, takes away from the tear-jerking opportunity that could’ve been there.
Even though Marry Me is not without its flaws, it’s not trying to be anything more than a fun Rom-Com with some great new music and an unconventional couple for audiences to root for. On those terms, it excels greatly since it is never boring, it has those heartwarming scenes that remind you what it’s like to be in love, and it never takes itself too seriously. If you’re looking for a new lighthearted film to fall in love with, look no further because Marry Me will have you leaving the theater singing Jennifer Lopez and looking for a stranger to marry on the way home.
Marry Me is now showing in theaters everywhere, and streaming on Peacock.
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