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Marry Me sings with shameless romance: Movie Review

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Who wouldn’t want to see a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day? If you’re looking for an easy-going date night, Universal’s Marry Me delivers all the cute, heartfelt and slightly silly moments you could ever want.

Movie stars Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, with surprising chemistry, anchor a story about a mega pop star (Lopez) who leaves her cheating boyfriend just moments before they get married at a stadium concert. In a moment of spontaneity, she picks a stranger from the crowd and marries a middle school math teacher (Wilson) instead.

Ludicrous? A little bit. But the best love stories, both in real life and in movies, usually have a bit of crazy in them. Marry Me succeeds because the whole cast takes each “fish out of water” scenario seriously and without obvious gags.

The film is heavy on the sincere, quiet romance and less on the in-your-face comedy that defined this genre in the 90s and early 2000s. If you go in expecting sweet and fewer outright jokes, you’ll leave more satisfied.

Aside from the sincere and vulnerable Lopez, easily playing a pop star looking for love, and the charming Wilson, the cast surrounding them is all great. The biggest scene-stealer is Sarah Silverman as the middle school guidance counsellor, landing big laughs with every line she says. 95% of the comedy comes from her.

While the movie is successfully sweet, there are several sticking points that don’t sit right. There are too many pop concert scenes, with extended performances of pop songs written for the movie, and all but “On My Way” add nothing to the story. The late, short breakup followed by the ending scene is also predictable, but these are forgivable.

Less forgivable are the characters’ naïve outlook that social media is only a positive tool with no repercussions, and Jimmy Fallon has several cameo appearances as a meaner, shallow and inauthentic version of himself with his talk show. It’s awkward to watch.

What really feels cheap, and took me out the movie several times, were the multiple shameless advertisements for products built into the script, unapologetically hawking Vitamix appliances, NBC shows (owned by Universal, who produced this movie) and worst of all, a middle school boy, talking about how great website design is.

It’s hard to overlook the commercialization clearly at play, and the whole story runs maybe 20 minutes too long. But Lopez and Wilson are seriously good enough to sweep audiences off their feet and help them forget the crass annoyances that come and go quickly.

There hasn’t been a worthwhile “rom com” since The Broken Hearts Gallery back in September 2020, almost a year and a half ago. This is a genre that rarely gets made anymore, and even rarer gets made well.

The ladies will have a great time. The gentlemen will be surprised how much they like it. Cinephiles will irk at the pulls for sympathy at “yet another branding meeting” or photo shoot. But nobody can say the concert wedding wasn’t adorable.

Marry Me

6 out of 10

PG, 1hr 52mins. Romance.

Directed by Kat Boiro.

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Chloe Coleman, Sarah Silverman, John Bradley and Maluma.

Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.