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edge staff writer


Say ‘I do’ to ‘Marry Me’

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The past few years have shown us that the streamers in general – and Netflix in particular – have taken the baton with regard to romantic comedies. The major players just aren’t as interested in rom-coms anymore, choosing to focus their energies elsewhere.

However, that doesn’t mean they’ve given up entirely.

And so we get “Marry Me,” the new film directed by Kat Coiro and starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. With a screenplay adapted by John Rogers, Tami Sagher and Harper Dill from Bobby Crosby’s graphic novel of the same name, the film tells the story of an iconic pop star whose way forward gets thrown into disarray when she crosses paths with a man who is unlike anyone she has ever met before.

Is it predictable? Yes. Corny? For sure. Sappy? Absolutely. It is also a sweet, good-hearted good time, a movie that is unashamed to be what it is. This film isn’t striving for edginess or excitement. It offers up romantic formula with glee, hitting all the standard markers – playing the hits, if you will – but is no lesser for it. “Marry Me” isn’t great cinema, but rom-com fans – of which I am definitely one – will find plenty to enjoy.

Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) is a globally famous pop singer, one with a catalog of hits and a reputation for being unlucky in love. In an effort to change that reputation (and perhaps find happiness), Kat – along with her manager Colin (John Bradley) – decides that she will wed her boyfriend and fellow pop star Bastian (Maluma) at a concert following a performance of their duet hit “Marry Me.”

Charlie Gibbs (Owen Wilson) is a public-school math teacher in NYC. He’s an affable nerd, a bit uptight; he’s divorced and shares custody of his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman), who is generally mortified by the fact that she’s going to be attending the school where her dad teaches. He learns from one of his math club students that Lou finds him to be deeply uncool.

Charlie’s friend Parker (Sarah Silverman) offers him a shot at cool-dadness when she has a couple of extra tickets to the Kat Valdez concert. The three of them go and watch the show. But things veer off course when, during the concert, news breaks that Bastian has been cheating on Kat with Kat’s assistant. She learns this immediately before going back onstage for the planned wedding – a plan that she changes on the fly.

She gets married, all right. Just not to Bastian.

Instead, she picks Charlie out of the crowd – he’s holding Parker’s homemade “Marry Me” sign – and brings him onstage, where the two of them are wed in front of thousands in person and millions online. From there, chaos ensues.

The initial thought by Kat’s team is to pay Charlie off and try to hold off the criticism. But Kat decides that rather than run from it, she should embrace it and spend a few months “married” to Charlie in an effort to look less like a crazy person. Charlie, being a generally good dude, agrees to go along with the plan. We watch as the relationship between Kat and Charlie evolves, even as they slowly learn more about one another and engage with each other’s lives. But can two people from such different worlds find happiness together?

Look, you know the answer. I can go on, but we all know how this is going to play out, right? Like I said – predictable.

“Marry Me” is reflective of the sorts of rom-coms Hollywood churned out by the dozens not so long ago. A fairly simple (albeit absurd premise) with an A-lister in the lead, followed by a will they/won’t they courtship and an emotionally satisfying conclusion. That said, it has been so long since that formula was in vogue that this movie, as familiar as it is, actually felt kind of refreshing.

Straight up: I enjoyed myself watching this movie. Sometimes, you just want to watch two people thrust together by circumstance figure each other out … and perhaps fall in love in the process. Maybe have a few laughs and shed a tear or two along the way. Sometimes – hell, much of the time – that’s all you need from a movie. And in that respect, I think “Marry Me” delivers.

Obviously, you don’t want to tug too hard on any of the threads or the whole thing unravels. There are some pretty wild suspensions of disbelief that have to happen here, but again – that’s OK. It’s a rom-com, you know? Wild suspensions of disbelief are usually part of the process.

(Note: Considering the combination of premise and star, you might expect the music to be excellent. It’s solid of course – consider who we’re dealing with, after all – but a lot of it feels kind of like repurposed B-sides; solid songs made by professionals, but not necessarily single material.)

As with so many films of its ilk, the success of “Marry Me” rides largely on the central pairing. And honestly, this might be where they nailed it most precisely. Jennifer Lopez as a beautiful and talented music megastar who is dealing with turmoil in her personal life? Check. Owen Wilson as the charmingly goofy everyman who is everything that said megastar has never had? Check again. And the two of them together have a lovely chemistry, even if it does feel informed more by amiability than outright passion. Still, they click, and that click does a lot of the heavy lifting.

The supporting cast has a couple of gems as well. Bradley, who’s having a bit of a moment (he was in “Moonfall,” too), does some lovely work as Kat’s agent. Silverman is maybe going a little too hard – she’s in a slightly different movie than everyone else – but as best friend comic relief, she works. Maluma gives Bastian a kind of slimy charisma that fits nicely. And young Chloe Coleman captures the awkward precociousness of the gifted teacher’s kid. It’s a nice group.

“Marry Me” isn’t going to change the cinematic landscape. But if you’re someone – like myself – who digs (and misses) well-made and engaging studio rom-coms, you could do worse than saying “I do” to this one.

[3.5 out of 5]

Last modified on Monday, 14 February 2022 15:56


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