'Marry Me': A Fun, Yet Somewhat Familiar, Romantic Comedy
On paper, everything about Marry Me seems like it would be a fake movie that someone made up as a joke. It's a rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, it has a ridiculous premise, and it is somehow based on a graphic novel. However, when the trailer for this first dropped online, I was strangely excited to see it. It just seemed so odd that a movie like this would exist, and considering that it's been a while since an honest-to-God rom-com was released in theaters, my interest was piqued to say the least. I knew this was either going to be a disaster, or it was going to be a surprising success. After seeing it, I have to say that it's not exactly either one, and that it lands somewhere in the middle. Thankfully, the film's charm and the shockingly good chemistry between Lopez and Wilson manages to make up for its shortcomings, and ends up feeling like a nice throwback to the rom-coms of the 2000s.
If you've seen the trailer for Marry Me, you basically know the plot. Jennifer Lopez plays pop superstar Kat Valdez, one of the biggest celebrities on planet Earth. She and her boyfriend, fellow popstar Bastian (played by Maluma) are set to get married at a big concert in New York City in front of a massive crowd of adoring fans. However, when Kat learns that Bastian has been unfaithful just moments before they are set to exchange vows, Kat makes an impulsive decision to marry a stranger in the crowd who happens to be holding a sign that says "Marry Me". That stranger is Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), a divorced Math teacher who was dragged to the concert by one of his co-workers. The two get married and the rest of the film follows them as they try to bridge the gap between their two very different lives.
This film doesn't reinvent the wheel, and it hits a lot of the same beats as other rom-coms, but I honestly didn't mind that. Maybe it's because there hasn't been many good rom-coms come out in so long, but I enjoyed this film fairly well. The rom-com has faded in popularity over the years, and since they stopped bringing in money at the box office, studios have stayed away from them. Most rom-coms that have been made over the past few years have gone straight to streaming, and the genre has been due for a renaissance for some time now. The fact that Universal greenlit this film is pretty big, as it's the first major rom-com to hit theaters in many years. Time will tell if this leads to a renewed interest in the genre, I definitely feel that its a step in the right direction.
So much of this film relies on the unlikely pairing of JLo and Owen Wilson. Since they aren't two people that you would naturally think of toplining a rom-com, it works in the film's favor since the core plot centers around how wild it is that one of the world's biggest celebrities decides to marry a regular guy. They fit these roles nicely, and are better together than one might think. I wouldn't say this is either one of their best performances, but they get the job done, regardless. It does feel like their roles are a bit archetypal, but that's to be expected given what kind of movie this is. The supporting cast is pretty decent as well, with Sarah Silverman providing some of the comic relief as Owen Wilson's best friend, and John Bradley putting in some good work as JLo's beleaguered manager. Again, they pretty much tackle roles we've seen many times before in other movies, but they do a good job with them, nonetheless.
In terms of the film's technical elements, there's not much to talk about. A good deal of it has that overlit aesthetic that a lot of studio comedies seem to have now, and it annoyed me in certain moments. The costuming on the other hand, especially for JLo's character, is pretty great. I particularly felt that the sparkly wedding dress was a highlight, and the other costumes she wears match her superstar persona nicely. The music might be the one thing here that stuck out to me the most. It feels like something you would hear on the radio, and a few of the songs are legitimately catchy. I'm sure I'll have Marry Me and On My Way stuck in my head for the next few days, and it wouldn't surprise me if other people who see this film do too.
As I said earlier, this film doesn't cover much new territory, but it's still pretty enjoyable. It isn't trying to be anything more than a good old-fashioned rom-com, and I respect it for that. It does come at the cost of certain things in the film feeling a bit pedestrian, but there is so much charm found all throughout the film that it makes up for it. It feels like a fairytale, and is the specific brand of rom-com that just doesn't get made anymore. It is rather cheesy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The film isn't nearly as ridiculous as I was expecting it to be, but I took comfort in the fact that I was seeing a true rom-com for the first time in so long. Marry Me is such a sweet, feel-good movie from start to finish. It may not be anything revolutionary, but it makes for a fun watch, and serves as a welcome return for the studio rom-com.