Going into Marry Me, a nice throwback to the romcoms that Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson would’ve appeared in 15-20 years ago, you know what to expect. But sometimes, the element of surprise or freshness is not as good as the way it’s delivered. You don’t go to see a Shakespeare play to see Hamlet kill Claudius within the first act or watch Willy Loman becoming successful at the end. No, you go to see the performances.
To say Marry Me is a cookie-cutter romantic comedy is like saying Rio Bravo, El Dorado and Rio Lobo were all the same movie. Thank you, Captain Obvious. Still, people went to go see all those three movies, so why should Marry Me follow any new aesthetic? There’s been comparison drawn to Notting Hill in which a woman celebrity falls for a regular joe and realizes he’s the best thing for her.
And it may be so. But still Lopez and Wilson have a great time and wonderful chemistry together. What’s interesting about this movie is that both of their characters have a little mileage on them and know it. The actors are both in their early 50s and both hit it big in the late 1990s. They’re playing characters who know they’re no longer young and are looking for something else.
Here, Lopez is Katrina “Kat” Valdez, a pop singer whose had a history of high-profiled failed relationships and marriages. Sound familiar? And Wilson plays an “Aw Shucks” lowly NYC-area math teacher named Charlie Gilbert, a name that pretty much signifies he still uses an older model cell phone, which he does, and has a very simple pattern he follows throughout the week.
Kat is dating Bastian (Maluma) and at a concert in NYC, it is arranged for them to get married in front of a live audience as well as the world who will be watching. When Charlie hoping to bond with his daughter, Lou (Chloe Coleman) gets some last-minute tickets to go to the concert with Charlie’s friend and colleague, Parker Debbs (Sarah Silverman), he carries with him a poster board reading “Marry Me.” That just happens to be the hit song that Kat and Bastian recorded.
Unfortunately, the digital media age drops a bombshell as Kat is getting ready for the big wedding backstage. Bastian was videotaped making out with an assistant of Kat’s. She sees it before going on stage and breaks down telling the audience how her personal life has been. When she spots Charlie holding the sign, she tells him yes. Confused, Charlie goes up on stage and agrees to marry Kat.
Later on the ride home, Charlie and Kat are nervous but Kat notices he’s got a sweet, nice personality. They part their ways with everyone expecting it to be a publicity stunt. The next morning Kat discusses this with her business manager, Collin Calloway (John Bradley) and Kat wonders if it’s not such a bad idea if her and Charlie could stay married for a few months. Charlie agrees.
And naturally, as Kat and Charlie get to know more about each other, they realize they like each other and fall in love. Kat has every minute of every day of her life planned while Charlie just focuses on his teaching and his students and spending as much time with Lou. During a phone call, Charlie tells Kat that he’s going to go to bed at 8 p.m. and read before going to sleep. And you sense that Kat really wants the simpler life.
Kat and Lou meet and bond as she helps her stepdaughter overcome stage fright. And eventually, Kat and Charlie get together and consummate their marriage. But trouble is brewing as “Marry Me” is nominated for a Grammy meaning Kat will have to perform with Bastian and Charlie is wondered that Kat still has feelings for Bastian and well, you know.
If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a complicated story with a lot of characters and plot twists. There’s even a mad dash to the airport sequence for crying out loud. You know what’s going to happen even before it happens. But the joy and pleasure is watching Lopez and Wilson. Sometimes, you just need a movie like this to unwind to for two hours.
Marry Me was filmed pre-Covid in the Fall of 2019 and spent the last two years like most movies being bounced around. But as the old saying goes, “All good comes to those that wait.” Now that she’s reunited with Ben Affleck, this movie seems good timing.
What do you think? Please comment.