Well, this can be a hell week for film critics. The one week of the year dedicated to contrived, unrealistic, and far-fetched storylines sugar-coated into a piece of eye candy finished with a beautiful shine. Throw in a couple of attractive leads, some wise-cracking best friends, and follow a playbook step-by-step that has tributed to the likes of Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Sandra Bullock. Here’s the point- they are supposed to be guilty pleasures. Jennifer Lopez’s latest, Marry Me, forgets some key components. Like the fact that this is nothing more than a promotion for J.Lo and Maluma’s attached album.
There is nothing original about Marry Me. A poorly written film with scenes built only to enhance the album’s songs. Harper Dill (The Mindy Project) and John Rogers (Catwoman) adapted the song list. This is strange since this is based on a graphic novel by Bobby Crosby. But is so loosely based it’s practically non-existent. As far as you can tell, they only kept the premise of a pop star named Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez). She suddenly becomes so frustrated with her love life that she marries the first man she sees who is holding a sign that says, you guessed it,” Marry Me.”
That frustration is Bastian (played by Maluma), a man she was supposed to marry at a live New York City concert, and found out he was sleeping with her assistant. That man is Owen Wilson, who plays Charlie Gilbert. A good man and single father; humble, sweet, and raising a daughter on a math teacher’s salary. He, of course, says yes. I mean, why not? She is beautiful, talented, rich, and has nothing to do this weekend, right?
Directed by Kat Coiro, Marry Me is shockingly dull and, frankly, dumb for all its glitz and glamour. Practically any scene with Wilson, who is miscast here in the romantic lead, and Lopez trying to integrate herself into any situation outside a concert or performance is misguided. That is where Charlie comes in. We do not learn anything of substance about him. Charlie is supposed to be used as a mirror character to bring out or enhance Kat’s traits. Not as a performer, mind you, but as a human being.
The issue here is that they resort to some musical interlude when the writers cannot flesh out that scenario. There are two different scenes where Lopez’s Kat, without any prompting, turns a math club meeting and high school dance into her private concert. Would it not be interesting to see how Kat operates in the real world? And by comparison to her posh and privileged lifestyle? Or get a sense of who the person is behind her persona?
A similar film, like Notting Hill, succeeded, where Marry Me does not. When you combine that the leads lack any natural chemistry (and a suddenly charmless Wilson doesn’t help matters), Kat Coiro’s film’s sole purpose is to promote J.Lo and Maluma’s album. This isn’t so much a film as it is an utterly charmless infomercial.