2.5 out of 5 stars
As Valentine's Day approaches, studios attempt to fulfil the needs of the romantics who are looking for a rom-com that will appeal to everyone. Jennifer Lopez (The Backup Plan) has become a regular contributor to this genre with varying degrees of success. Her latest shuffle into the world of implausible romances gets its inspiration from a webcomic of the same name, Marry Me.
The multi-talented superstar does not have to stretch too far as she embodies world-renowned vocalist, Kat Valdez. She is meant to marry her fiance Bastian (Maluma), an international singing sensation, in front of a live audience and 20 million viewers worldwide. They plan to sing their chart-topping single, Marry Me, then tie the knot before their adoring fans across multiple platforms. An event that all seems to be going to plan until Bastian’s unfaithfulness is revealed online just as the couple is meant to be married.
Since Kat is put into an awkward public situation, she decides to take control of the situation as she looks across the crowd. Divorced high-school math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) is standing in the audience with his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) and his best friend (Sarah Silverman). As he has been handed a fan sign that says, ‘Marry Me,’ Kat sees this as an opportunity to accept his unknowing and innocent invitation. As the singer brings the unsuspecting man on stage, they both get caught up in the moment and agree to be married. This situation leads to a wave of publicity and personal changes for these strangers who suddenly find themselves committing to something that neither thought they would be in at the beginning of the concert.
Many words can explain this concept like ridiculous, impossible, unlikely, far-fetched, but few would think it could be labelled as pleasantly appealing. In this bizarre world controlled by social media, it is surprising that no one has thought to tap into something like this in the real world, a term that is used lightly. Nonetheless, once you get past the implausible nature of this scenario, what becomes critical is the chemistry between Lopez and Wilson. A relationship that does not seem to work on paper, yet it seems to work on-screen for whatever reason. They may not be at the level of Hepburn/Spencer or Ryan/Hanks, but they do prove to have the chemistry needed to pull off this farcical storyline.
It should be said that this is primarily a vehicle for Jennifer Lopez and showcasing her talents as a vocalist, dancer and performer. The majority of the film contains footage of her stage productions and choreographed recording sessions. Her fans will stream the soundtrack during the screening. The rest of the world must wait for her music to conclude to see how this whole thing works out in the end. Like Lopez’s performance, Owen Wilson does not have to work too hard to play the bumbling math nerd. While Sarah Silverman is left to be her bombastic self for the comedic relief along with the children of the primary school’s math club.
Like most of JLo's comedies, Marry Me is relatively forgettable and will fade into cinematic history once cupid's arrows stop flying. Still, it does offer fans of these films an option to enjoy throughout the holiday and allow them to escape from the realities of life for a bit.
Reel Dialogue: The quiet life
Owen Wilson’s character, Charlie, is ostracised by friends and family because he lives a simple life that does not involve social media or an overly complicated schedule. His uncomplicated life makes him available for his daughter and for the unexpected things that come along each day. Even though this is not a new concept, it was refreshing to see it lived out. Especially in our modern society where busyness has overtaken our every waking moment.
There is value to making the most of the life we have been given within the Bible. Yet, it is partnered with the importance of living a quiet existence that prioritises rest. Who knows, it might be worth turning off your phone, computer and devices to look around you. Take the time to enjoy the simple things of this world like family, friends and the rest we need.
One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after the wind. - Ecclesiastes 4:6
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you. - 1 Thessalonians 4:11