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In this throwback romantic comedy, a glamorous pop star discovers that her equally famous fiancé has been cheating on her just moments before she’s supposed to marry him at a highly publicized joint concert. Stunned and humiliated, she plucks an ordinary guy out of the audience, pulls him up on stage, and impulsively marries him instead.
Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson headline as the unlikely couple at the center of this romance. The supporting cast includes Sarah Silverman, Maluma (Encanto), and John Bradley (Game of Thrones).
It’s no coincidence that Marry Me was scheduled to premiere the weekend before Valentine’s Day. Like the holiday, it’s optimistic, commercial, and unabashedly sentimental. In the world of Marry Me, we can be reassured that true love conquers all. And given the state of the real world right now, couldn’t we use a little romantic escapism to revel in?
Lopez’s character, Kat Valdez, is not too different from her real-life persona. Like J.Lo, Kat is an international superstar who lives her life in a fish bowl, always in the public eye. But it’s not like she goes out of her way to avoid attention. Quite the opposite, actually. Kat has a cameraman following her every move to record “little mini episodes of life,” as she calls them. She’s seen the good and the bad of a music industry that builds people up and tears them down just as easily. Kat may be scarred, but she’s not jaded. She believes in love and marriage. And she’s determined to control her own narrative. Which is how the movie explains her rash decision to marry a complete stranger on stage in front of millions of fans. Whether or not you’re willing to accept this slightly absurd premise for the sake of an aspirational love story is a good indication of whether Marry Me will ultimately work for you.
The other big concept the film asks you to buy into is the romantic arc between Kat and Owen Wilson’s character, Charlie Gilbert. It’s not a big ask, though. Charlie is an adorably down-to-earth math teacher and single dad, who goes to Kat’s concert in the first place not because he’s a fan but to impress his daughter. His simple life provides the stability and authenticity she’s been missing, while just being around her makes his life more exciting. As they get to know each other, their attraction grows and becomes evident in every look and touch. They may not be the most obvious pair, but Lopez and Wilson manage to convey a palpable chemistry and tension from their first hotter-than-it-needs-to-be kiss on stage after exchanging their impromptu vows to the final scene involving one of the most iconic tropes of the genre.
Marry Me knows exactly what kind of film it is and what the audience it was made for will expect from it (swoon-worthy moments, mainly). It’s sober but not cynical, emotional but not sappy, and feels almost refreshingly retro in its straightforward construction. Don’t expect anything deep or challenging here. Just sit back and let these two undeniably appealing characters played by two actors with charm to spare distract you from everything for a little while.
Marry Me is a fun love story with a killer hook that could have been a total disaster, but ultimately succeeds thanks to the likability of its characters and wholehearted embrace of the conventions of classic romantic comedies.
Your significant other. This would be great for a first date movie or for rekindling an old flame.
In true Kat Valdez fashion, Lopez has released an official soundtrack with 13 new tracks, including the title duet with co-star Maluma. She’s been making the promotional rounds recently too, performing on The Tonight Show and filming a live concert called Marry Me Tonight! Jennifer Lopez & Maluma Live, which is also available to watch on Peacock.