February 17, 2022 Marry Me (Movie Review)
February means Valentines Day, and Valentines Day means love…unless one is in a place where Valentines is not a thing, or does not go for the whole holiday thing. But still, love is in the air, and that means cards, flowers, and Romcoms.
Which is where Marry Me comes in. The film follows top popstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez: Out of Sight 1998, The Cell 2000). Valdez was going to marry her fiancé, fellow singer Bastian (Maluma: Encanto 2021) at her concert, until he was caught on video cheating moments before she was due on stage.
Hurt and embarrassed, she throws caution to the wind and instead chooses her groom from the crowd. That being Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson: Bottle Rocket 1996, Wedding Crashers 2005), a single dad who just happened to be holding a ‘Marry Me’ sign. The two marry to the shock and consternation of the world. But as lovely as they looked on-stage, can the two get along off-stage?
Directed by Kat Coiro (Girls5Eva 2021, She-Hulk 2022), and was written by John Rogers (The Core 2003, Catwoman 2004), Harper Dill (Florida Girls 2019, Dollface 2019) and Tami Sagher (Orange is the New Black series, Shrill 2020), it was released on February 11, 2022, just in time for the holiday. Perfect for any lovebirds out there, right? Well, lets find out.
If anyone is tired of comic book adaptations, then sorry; this film is based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name by Bobby Crosby. Though it is a rather loose adaptation. It has the premise- gorgeous popstar marries a random guy- but the names have been changed, and the plot and characters have been tweaked.
For example, the novel’s Stasia Tyler was a more typical blonde singer in the vein of Britney Spears, etc. While Kat Valdez is an Hispanic singer who has had a few unfortunate marriages, and was really hoping her latest beau would be the permanent one. In short, she is basically Jennifer Lopez herself. Just with some much softer edges. The real Lopez has been known to have a diva streak, while Valdez is quite humble for a big celebrity, albeit not ‘Jenny from the Block’ humble.
That aside, one can already feel the cynicism rising within them when they take that and the plot in. The world’s biggest singer somehow finds love with a dorky introvert. Of course the singer is a pretty sexpot and the introvert is, well, Owen Wilson. He sees a sweet, down-to-earth person behind the sponsorship deals and Instagram posts, and she sees a funny, no-frills, pure guy behind the math teacher chic. At least the man has the gay best friend this time (Sarah Silverman: School of Rock 2003, Wreck-it-Ralph 2012).
So, it is not a complex film, outside of Gilbert’s math problems. However, that does not mean that it is a bad film. Not terrible anyway. The cast play their roles well, with Wilson and Lopez being the stars of the show. They have some nice chemistry going on. Not spellbinding, but convincing and sweet. Though one might favor Wilson a bit more as he has a subplot that gives his character that extra touch.
That said, there is only so much slack one can give. The writing for Valdez’s music is stronger than the plot. For example, Gilbert finds Valdez to be too reliant on her handlers and challenges her to do without them. Except she did not seem to be that reliant on them. She wants everything recorded for social media, yeah. But the audience would not get the sense she would fall apart if she had to fetch her own wine glasses or open her own front door. But the plot goes for that angle anyway.
Likewise, they do not get the sense Valdez is torn between Gilbert and Bastian. It just feels like Gilbert is intimidated by him because he is like her, a big celebrity, which makes him revert to being a curmudgeon. This could have worked, as Gilbert could have learnt to appreciate what Valdez sees in him. It is even pre-shadowed in the film! Instead, it is Valdez who has the epiphany and makes her choice in the usual way. Well, kind of. An airport is involved, but not in the Richard Curtis way.
Plus, despite getting top billing with Wilson and Lopez, Maluma is barely in the film past the first half. It might be intentional to show that his character is less caring than Wilson’s. In practice, it feels like a lost opportunity to have his Bastian and Wilson’s Gilbert compete for Valdez’s love. Like the film could have been The Tortoise and The Hare of Romcoms.
Instead, Marry Me is a fairly straightforward Romantic Comedy with the typical tropes. The kind that the Bridget Jones series of films was meant to shut down. But it succeeds in making its audience feel good, happy, and loving thanks to some solid acting and singing performances. If only those extra writing wrinkles could have been ironed out. Then it would have been a stronger picture. The harder-hearted can knock a half-star off the score. For everyone else, Cryptic Rock gives this film 2.5 out of 5 stars.