Hey kids, gather around and let me tell you a tale.
Once upon a time, there was a film called ‘the mid-budgeted, adult-targeting romcom’ that roamed the Earth. These films featured notable, likeable (and usually bankable) stars in the lead and they would find themselves in an implausible romantic situation that could never happen in real life. After all, they’re too different.
But maybe, just maybe, it’ll work out for those crazy kids.
Obviously I’m joking but, in all seriousness, these sorts of romantic comedies do feel like dinosaurs in a cinema filled with brooding superheroes and gritty dramas. But it’s also possible that this is the genre that we didn’t know we needed as we come out of the bleakness of the pandemic. With Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock’s The Lost City and Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson’s Marry Me becoming moderate box office successes, it’s possible that the genre is beginning to pick up steam once again. (Heck, even romcom icons Julia Roberts and George Clooney are back together later this year!)
But let’s get back to Marry Me, which is available on Blu-ray and DVD today.
Directed by Kat Coiro, Marry Me follows pop superstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) as she prepares to marry her boyfriend live onstage before her millions of fans. However, right before the nuptials take place, Kat discovers that he’s been cheating on her and melts down publicly. As an act of defiance (and insanity), she decides to marry a complete stranger instead. Locking eyes with Charlie (Owen Wilson), a single divorced father who teaches math, Kat invites him onstage and the wedding takes place. But, after the dust settles, the two must decide whether or not this marriage of convenience may actually have something worth fighting for.
Fueled by a non-sensical premise and numerous ‘meet-cute’ style interactions, Marry Me simply sounds ridiculous. (A pop superstar marries a stranger onstage out of spite?) But, much like their characters’ relationship, Lopez and Wilson make it work.
Onscreen, Lopez and Wilson seem like an odd pairing with she, an icon of glamour in style, and he known for his puppy dog eyes and innocence. However, that’s exactly what gives the film its charm. Once a bankable romcom star at the box office herself, Lopez looks incredibly comfortable in the role of superstar Kat Valdez. Often portrayed as larger than life herself, Lopez still brings a humility to the character that make her instantly likeable. The unlikely pairing with Wilson provide both actors with a space to let their charm come to the forefront, without ever losing Lopez’s star power. Together, they have genuine chemistry and are an absolute delight to watch.
It’s also worth noting that Marry Me is refreshing in its use of romcom stereotypes. From examples such as Pretty Woman, Crazy Rich Asians to Lopez’s own Maid in Manhatten, the romcom genre often tells stories of a ‘wealthy man and the carefree woman who comes into his life and changes everything’. Instead, however, Marry Me takes the opposite approach. With Kat confidently at the wheel, the film manages to empower her while still showing the give-and-take necessary to make their relationship work. At a press conference after their ‘wedding’, Kat speaks to the women of the audience when she says, “Why don’t we switch things up? We’ll pick the man, propose and choose to see if they’re worthy.” (In fact, Marry Me even reverses one of the most age-old romcoe tropes in the film’s climax.)
With an eye on the magic of romance, Marry Me dreams that love is worth the risks, even if it doesn’t always make sense. Although Kat believes in love, Charlie is not so sure. After all, he’s been burned badly before and struggles to move beyond his hurt. To him, love is a risk and it’s far easier to live a life of anonymity in a bubble with his daughter, co-worker friend and aging dog. On the other hand, Kat’s global notoriety never taints her faith in others… or in love. To her, the world is not a scary place because she remains firmly grounded in what’s most important. Her love of others helps her to keep an open mind about the possibility with Charlie… and an open heart. (After all, no matter how much fame and popularity that she may have, JLo… er… Kat is still ‘Jenny from the Block’.) As she embraces romance, so too does she help Charlie to embrace life and, potentially, new love as well.
So, yes. Marry Me may be goofy and non-sensical at times. But I have to admit that it also couldn’t help but soften this jaded heart along the way. Delightful from start to finish, Marry Me warms the heart, makes you laugh and is definitely a comedy worth saying yes to.
Marry Me is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.