February is the standard month of love and affection, pink hearts and cheese, both the edible kind and the descriptive kind. It’s also the month for rom-coms and thus we are presented with Kat Coiro’s new romantic dramedy, Marry Me, starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson as well as a Colombian singer Maluma.
Lopez plays Kat Valdez, a pop star who is set to marry her equally successful singer boyfriend Bastian (Maluma) at a concert in front of thousands of people. Moments before she goes on stage for the wedding, she finds out Bastian has been cheating on her and in a moment of pure insanity, she picks someone from the crowd to marry instead. That someone is Charlie Gilbert (Wilson), a hapless, boring maths teacher who goes along with the plan and the two begin to get to know each other. You can guess the rest.
Marry Me is predictable; its narrative offers no surprises or twists and that’s fine. As your standard, slightly noughties reminiscent rom-com, Marry Me is fine. It’s not particularly funny nor is it so cheesy that you would treat it as a sort of a guilty pleasure, a film so bad, it’s actually enjoyable. The narrative and Coiro’s camera float from scene to scene without a bigger purpose and it makes for a forgettable film.
Jennifer Lopez is predictably likeable and charismatic on screen, but the biggest issue here is Wilson. He sells the image and idea of Charlie well enough, but never brings him to life, his characterisation of him is flat and dull. The two stars have zero chemistry with each other, which ends up being Marry Me’s biggest downfall. Singer Maluma seems a little lost in the film, never appearing comfortable acting, but at least he and JLo have decent chemistry in their scenes.
Most of Marry Me looks and feels like an extended music video. Lopez’s singing naturally plays a big part in the film, but Coiro never manages to say anything poignant about love, loneliness or fame in the age of social media. The screenplay, by Harper Dill, John Rogers and Tami Sagher, based on Bobby Crosby’s graphic novel, never hits the emotional highs and lows needed for a rom-com. Kat’s devastation at the beginning when realising Bastian’s betrayal is palpable, but she seems to recover awfully fast, or perhaps the film just doesn’t have time to show her inner struggles.
The film also constantly seems to make fun of Kat’s previous marriages, which comes across as tone-deaf as it never really provides any insight into who Kat is as a person. Is she a woman so hungry for love she mistakes any affection for true love? Has she learned from her mistakes? There is a lot of potential in Marry Me, but it’s hindered by the lack of chemistry between the leads and flat direction by Coiro.
Marry Me is now in cinemas.