Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson find love in unexpected places in this better than expected Valentine’s weekend rom-com.
By Sean Blanford
Suppose you were to sit down and make a list of all the places where you would expect to meet the love of your life. Near the top of that list would be the expected circumstances like your job, a restaurant, a party, etc. Then somewhere in the middle of that list, you’d find the maybes like a better than expected blind date or an even better than anticipated Tinder hookup. A concert would probably be somewhere in the middle. It’s loud and crowded, but there’s a chance you fall for someone you see across the bar or standing next to you. What would probably be at the bottom of that list, if it made it at all, is if that person that ended up being the love of your life was the person on stage at said concert. This scenario is the premise of the latest Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy, Marry Me. While this premise may sound extraordinary, you can say the same thing about how good this film is.
Marry Me stars Lopez as Kat Valdez, a pop music megastar with tens of millions of followers on social media and a hit single titled Marry Me, which will lead to the on-stage marriage between herself and her fiance Bastian (Maluma). Owen Wilson is Charlie, a somewhat dorky math teacher and leader of the school mathletes who is divorced and has a twelve-year-old daughter (Chloe Coleman) who is starting at the same school he teaches at. The stars begin to align when Charlie has the opportunity to take his daughter to the concert that was supposed to lead to the wedding between Kat and Bastian. However, just before the ceremony is supposed to begin, news begins to spread of an affair Bastian had, and when she looks out to the crowd talking about how sometimes in life you have to take a leap of faith, that is when she sees Charlie in the crowd with a sign saying marry me. They lock eyes, and like two people who are about to fall in love for the first time, and she says yes, I will marry you.
The film sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does thanks to the performances of Wilson and Lopez, as well as costars Coleman, Maluma, John Bradley as Kat’s manager, Sarah Silverman as Charlie’s friend Parker, and Michelle Buteau as Kat’s assistant Melissa. Everyone is given enough to be fully fleshed-out characters while providing Wilson and Lopez room to shine. Marry Me is about the journey these two go on together, finding out who each other are, even under the guise of needing to keep this relationship looking as realistic as possible. While it does give in to many of the tropes that sometimes befalls lesser films in this genre, they feel real. If someone who was just an average person is instantly swept into a life of fame and celebrity, they should have a bit of imposter syndrome. Lopez has a presence and having her play to her strengths as both an actress and a musician gives Marry Me an added sense of credibility. The entire soundtrack is catchy without being saccharine.
Overall, Marry Me is a safe but fun romantic comedy elevated by its lead performances. While it might not bring anything new to the genre, it doesn’t make it less fun. Love can be found in the most unexpected places, and sometimes a good movie can as well.
Grade: 3.75/5 (B+)
Marry Me is in theaters now and available to stream on Peacock.