Love is in the air. That and covid. Love and covid, the new Steven Soderbergh film coming soon straight to HBOMax.
I can’t really remember the last time I reviewed a movie just for Valentine’s Day. But since a whole slew of them seem to being coming out (most dropped on Friday) I thought why the hell not. Plus, it has been a while since my last review, might as well start the year off with the new Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson romance film.
If that seems like a very unlikely couple, you’d be right as the two have almost zero chemistry together.
Just started and we’re already off to a bad start.
It is crucial, especially when your whole film relies on it, that your main characters need to have chemistry or sexual tension. Hell, I’ll even take actors that just work well together.
The oddest pairing that actually really works is Seth Macfarlane and Charlize Theron. You might not have liked A Million Ways to Die in the West but goddamn do these two work well together. And it wasn’t just for that movie, as she had a guest starring spot on The Orville where once again, she played a romantic love interest and once again the chemistry between the two was palpable.
Having no chemistry isn’t the only thing wrong with Marry Me, as I was experiencing some technical issues as well. I won’t spend too long ranting about this, as I’m not entirely sure if it was the movie doing it or how I was watching it.
First the issue.
On both sides of the screen the image is warped, almost bent or stretched. Everything is fine in the center of the screen, but once things come into focus on either end that’s when you start to see the distortion. It was massively distracting, like characters suddenly stepped into a funhouse.
One thing that came to mind that might be the problem was that I was watching this on my PS4 which isn’t capable of 4K, so maybe something got weird in the transfer and the aspect ratio got wonky. I honestly don’t know. It’s hard to imagine this was a stylistic choice. But after Army of the Dead anything is possible. I’m just going to say this was a me issue and others watching this film won’t have the same problem.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get into the story of Marry Me.
Apparently, this was adapted from a web comic. After learning that, I flipped through a few pages to see why this was so inspiring they’d want to adapt it. So far, I got nothing, as nothing really stands out to me.
The plot is nothing you haven’t already seen with Notting Hill, a far superior film. But I guess I do like the scenario, as dumb as it may sound.
Jennifer Lopez plays Kat, coincidentally the film is also directed by a Kat. At first, I was puzzled thinking that this was somehow self-autobiographical.
The story of a major music star falling for an average Joe isn’t all that unheard of. Just look at Dolly Parton, who is married to some truck driver. Actually, don’t look that up. There’s a very strong possibility I just pulled that out of my ass.
Jennifer Lopez is pretty much playing herself or herself back when she was at the height of her popularity. And currently she is about to marry Bastian, another mega popstar. And not just marry but put on a whole Pay-per-view show about it.
Attending this concert slash wedding is Owen Wilson playing Charlie an average dude who teaches math to middle schoolers.
He’s tagging along for his daughter’s sake and because his psychotic friend from work Parker played by Sarah Silverman was left with extra tickets after her girlfriend dumped her. I wonder why since she is nuttier than a squirrel turd.
In the comic it’s even worse, at stalker levels. I hated almost every scene with her in it. I don’t dislike Sarah Silverman, but the character she’s playing it too much.
Parker, our little psychopath was the one holding a sign that reads “marry me”. But while reaching for her phone (in the comic it’s to go pee outside), she hands off the marry me sign to Charlie.
Backstage however is where the drama is happening as Bastian has just been caught by the paparazzi making out with Kat’s assistant. Who I don’t remember ever meeting beforehand. Maybe we did, not sure.
Kat is obviously devastated, but since she is on stage when she gets the news, she has kind of a mini public breakdown, saying instead of marrying Bastian like planned, she sees Charlie with his marry me sign and says yes to him, pulling him on stage.
Here’s another thing, maybe you can believe she would randomly do this impulsive thing, him on the other hand. What is his motivation for saying yes?
He’s not a fan. He doesn’t even know who she was until the kids in his class told him about her. He’s not having any emotion breakdown. Hell, the only story arc he gets in this movie is getting his 12 year old daughter to not think he’s a dork.
Kat is the only one who really gets an arc in this. Really it should be the both of them that learns to grow. The only thing Charlie is able to overcome is he bought a smartphone instead of his old flip phone and learned to use tiktok.
Wow, so deep.
So most of the growth is left for Kat, as she’s a spoiled princesses that can’t really do much of anything on her own without help from her many assistants.
So now heartbroken, Kat pulls Charlie up on stage and the wedding that was meant to happen with her cheating fiancé is now happening with this schlub.
Knowing they made a weird knee jerk decision, Kat wants to try staying married to him for at least 6 months, just so she can save face and not be even more of a laughingstock.
Worst part was seeing Jimmy Fallon doing fake opening monologues like on Late Night and being about as unfunny and cringy as always.
You kind of know how the story is going to go from here, featuring the movie cliché I hate the most. The used too much “run to them” scene. And to make it even more cliché, it’s to a damn airport too.
I think one issue with the film is the Kat character. She never seems to be a real person. She’s always dressed like she’s about to go to some award show, she’s also constantly being followed around by her own personal cameraman blogger too.
The only time we get to see her be real is when she’s stuck on trying to write this new song. But even then, she’s still dressed like she’s about to hit the club.
Put her in some damn sweatpants! Let her put her hair down. Her hair by the way is constantly changing. One minute it’s long and flowing, the next it’s a bob cut. I get she uses extensions, but we need to see her be a real person who when is finally alone, not in front of cameras or the public eye, is just a normal person, wearing a shirt with holes in it and toothpaste. Something to make her feel grounded. We never get that with her. Jenny from the block she ain’t.
That might be why the chemistry between her and Owen Wilson’s character is so nonexistent. They seem to be aware of this issue, as it’s the whole reason for the third act breakup.
One good thing I can say about this film is the music was pretty good. I’m by no means a fan of Jennifer Lopez’s music, but the songs here were actually pretty catchy.
The title song Marry Me is an earworm and the other song On My Way is also very good. I don’t want to besmirch her talent as she’s a very good singer.
As months go by, Charlie and Kat get to know each other, but that’s also kind of an issue as I don’t really see anything these two have in common.
One scene all they have to talk about is the fact she has never been nominated for a music award. Yeah, I’m sure he can relate a lot to her plight.
He mostly spends half his time with her trying to get her to be a real person. And the only thing she does is complain about how no one knows the real her. Idiot, you have a cameraman who follows you around constantly!
This easily could have been a commentary on parasocial tendencies with celebs, constantly needing to know what they tweet about, who they’re dating. Know everything there is about their private lives, but it never goes there.
At one point after the whole on stage wedding, Kat forces Charlie to have this press conference talking about their marriage and the whole time I kept thinking none of this shit is anybody’s business.
There’s also a scene much later on where Kat and Bastian are on Jimmy Fallon, promoting their new song and Fallon awkwardly asks them if they are back together. It reminded me back when Lady Gaga was on with David Letterman and he uncomfortably asks her if she’s with Bradly Cooper. At the time he was married and she was engaged to someone, that’s fucking creepy to ask that shit.
I know Jlo is attractive, but I don’t really see anything else Charlie likes about her. He knows he doesn’t really belong in her world, which is why he breaks up with her after seeing how happy she is performing with her ex, surrounded by sycophants.
If I didn’t buy their whole courting, I sure as hell don’t buy into the whole cliché third act, where she runs to the airport to confess her feelings towards him.
I could easily see this working, if the actors were different, the characters tweaked a bit, making Kat more of a human being. Maybe try to give Charlie a bit more to do or room to grow as a person as he doesn’t really do much of anything in this besides just be a nice guy.
The comic also seems to suffer the same issues, so even the groundwork was off.
However, this wasn’t a bad film by any means. It has its moments, and I thought the music was actually pretty damn good.
Owen Wilson is about as charming as you’d expect him to be and Jennifer Lopez is gorgeous and under the right circumstances, it probably wouldn’t be that far of a stretch to see these two falling for each other. We just never really got to see that here.
As for my rating, I’ll give this one a RENT. If you’re looking for something to watch with your Valentine, there are worst options.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
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