MARRY ME is directed by Kat Coiro, and is based on a graphic novel by Bobby Crosby. The film stars Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, John Bradley, and Sarah Silverman.
Pop star Kat Valdez finds her wedding plans shattered when her fellow pop star boyfriend cheats on her with her assistant. The beautiful singer then catches everyone off guard and marries a complete stranger in the crowd at her concert – Charlie Gilbert, a math teacher and single father. What starts as a ludicrous publicity stunt of sorts quickly becomes something different altogether as the unlikely lovers fall for one another, bringing out the best in each other. But will sparks fly between the two, or will Kat reconcile with her apologetic former lover?
MARRY ME is very much a modern-day fairy tale, taking two people from totally different worlds, throwing them together, and seeing what happens. While the film is predictable and you pretty much know what structure the plot will take and what the ending will be, it actually succeeds thanks to strong performances and likable characters, never resorting to cheap laughs or gross-out humor. And for most audiences, that’ll be enough. It was for this critic.
MARRY ME is ideally cast. Jennifer Lopez excels in playing this role largely because she’s just playing a fictional version of herself, though I do mean that in the best of ways. Seeing this beautiful pop princess paired up with a math teacher struggling to forge a better relationship with his daughter makes for some interesting situations, and seeing how things unfold, even when you can pretty much predict what directions things will take and where they’ll be at the end of the film, still makes for some enjoyable viewing.
Even the supporting cast is surprisingly strong here, with the always entertaining Sarah Silverman playing the guidance counselor at Charlie’s school who also happens to be his best friend, and John Bradley at Kat’s assistant who has to keep things grounded in reality; this is a far cry from MOONFALL where he was just all-out comic relief, but seeing that he can take on the “straight man” role here just speaks further to his talents as an actor. The film smartly keeps its emphasis on a few characters, and this is better for fleshing them out and keeping them rounded and developed. If you’d told me that one of the greatest strengths of a movie that’s essentially a fairy tale set in modern times would be that its characters were three-dimensional and interesting, I never would’ve believed you. But that’s very much the case here, much to this moviegoer’s surprise.
Another strong point of MARRY ME is the situations it puts its lead characters into. Seeing an everyday working-class math teacher thrust into the daily life of a hugely successful pop star of whom he wasn’t previously aware makes for sequences both heartwarming and hilarious. Conversely, seeing him enter his life and daily situations is equally funny; seeing J Lo do her thing in a school classroom is just as entertaining as it sounds, and the reactions from the other characters are just as believable. The movie also serves as something of a satire of the modern-day world that’s so heavily driven by social media. Seeing these two thrust into each other’s routines and schedules is worth the price of admission alone.
It isn’t quite perfect, even if the good far outweighs the bad. The biggest issue here is the one that impacts most romances and romantic comedies – it’s the structure you’ve known and seen so many times on the big screen. Even into the movie’s early moments, I pretty much had the grand scheme of things figured out, as it is a fairly formulaic approach. The running time is admittedly about 10-15 minutes too long given the nature of the material, but I won’t deny that for the majority of that time, I was engrossed in the story and its characters.
MARRY ME doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the romantic comedy genre, but what it does bring audiences is a modern-day fairy tale of sorts that charms with its likable characters and strong performances of its cast, winning viewer over with its hilarious fish-out-of-water story, never resorting to cheap laughs or gross-out gags. You’ll fall for these characters even if the overall story is a little predictable. Highly recommended!