Director: Kat Coiro
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, John Bradley, Sarah Silverman
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Mature Content)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 10 February 2022
Synopsis: Packed with original songs by Jennifer Lopez and global Latin music star Maluma, Marry Me features Lopez starring as musical superstar Kat Valdez and Owen Wilson as Charlie Gilbert, a math teacher-total strangers who agree to marry and then get to know each other. An unlikely romance about two different people searching for something real in a world where value is based on likes and followers, Marry Me is a modern love story about celebrity, marriage and social media. Kat Valdez (Lopez) is half of the sexiest celebrity power couple on Earth with hot new music supernova Bastian (Maluma, making his feature-film debut). As Kat and Bastian's inescapable hit single, "Marry Me," climbs the charts, they are about to be wed before an audience of their fans in a ceremony that will streamed across multiple platforms. Divorced high-school math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) has been dragged to the concert by his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman, HBO's Big Little Lies) and his best friend (Sarah Silverman). When Kat learns, seconds before the ceremony, that Bastian has cheated on her with her assistant, her life turns left as she has a meltdown on stage, questioning love, truth and loyalty. As her gossamer world falls away, she locks eyes with a stranger-a face in the crowd. If what you know lets you down, then perhaps what you don't know is the answer, and so, in a moment of inspired insanity, Kat chooses to marry Charlie. What begins as an impulsive reaction evolves into an unexpected romance. But as forces conspire to separate them, the universal question arises: Can two people from such different worlds bridge the gulf between them and build a place where they both belong?
In true ‘Notting Hill’ style, the equivalent of the English bookshop owner is math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) and that of the ultra-famous glamour girl is pop diva Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez). Though based on the online graphic novel by Bobby Crosby, ‘Marry Me’ owes its debt more to the Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts classic rom-com, and whilst Kat Coiro’s movie doesn’t come close to the same escapist pleasures, there is more than enough charm and chemistry here to remind you just why rom-coms were the staple of Hollywood not quite so long ago.
As far as high-concept setups go, this one has Kat discovering just as she is about to give her wedding vows live to her equally famous fiancé Bastian (Maluma) that he had cheated on her with her assistant, leading her in a moment of madness to say yes to a face in the crowd holding a ‘Marry Me’ sign. That face happens to be Charlie, who was only there at the 20-million strong event because his gay colleague Parker (Sarah Silverman) had been dumped by her lover just hours before and asked him to bring his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) in their place.
It is an unbelievable meet-cute all right, but equally there is no harm going along with the flow, as Kat and Charlie spend the morning after as well as many subsequent days trying to get to know each other better. Whereas Charlie will accompany her to press interviews and photoshoots, Kat will visit him at school where he coaches the mathletes club. There should be no surprise that sparks will fly, and indeed the reason they truly do is JLo and Wilson, who make the unlikely couple seem utterly convincing and even winning.
Most of these are found within Charlie’s day-to-day settings – a scene where Kat pays an unannounced visit to Charlie’s mathletes class and ends up teaching Lou how to dance in order to overcome her stage fright is delightful; another where they go to the school’s semi-formal together is sweet, funny and lovely all the same time; and yet another where Kat surprises Charlie with a nostalgic visit to Coney Island to ride the Wonder Wheel is enthralling. In fact, it is the smaller, more intimate scenes that are truly endearing, even if it is as simple as Kat accompanying Charlie to walk his English bulldog along the Brooklyn neighbourhood.
Though there should never be any doubt that Kat will eventually come around to falling in love with Charlie, it is also just as predictable that Bastian will make an obligatory return in the third act of the film, just so Charlie will question the basis of his relationship with Kat and for Kat to sit on the question long enough (of whether she truly chooses to spend her life with Charlie). Yet without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say the climax is touching in unexpected ways, not just by how Kat and Charlie reconcile but also how Charlie demonstrates his fatherly love for Lou.
Some may be tempted to infer what Coiro is saying about fame in today’s age of live-streaming, or even how what Kat reflects on about her love life reflects that which JLo herself had been through in real life; yet at the end of the day, this is and should rightly be appreciated as a Hollywood escapist rom-com in spirit, structure and form. It may not be an instant classic as ‘Notting Hill’ was, but the combination of JLo’s glam and Wilson’s ‘aw-shucks’ charm will definitely put a smile on your face. Even if it doesn’t immediately make you say ‘I Do’, you’ll find it hard not to say ‘Why Not’ to this frothy, fun and fulfilling rom-com.
(JLo and Owen Wilson make a charming couple in this 'Notting Hill'-like rom-com that proves familiar can still be frothy, fun and fulfilling)
Review by Gabriel Chong