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Film Review: “Marry Me” Is a Trifle, but a Sweet One

Written by: Christopher Llewellyn Reed | February 10th, 2022

Film poster: “Marry Me”

Marry Me (Kat Coiro, 2022) 2½ out of 4 stars.

As rom-com premises go, that of Marry Me is perhaps no more outlandish than any other, though it does initially bend the rules of believability quite a bit. When pop star Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers) discovers her fiancé, fellow singer Bastian (Maluma), in flagrante delicto with her very own assistant, she falls into immediate despair. The video of the hookup goes viral while Kat is backstage with Bastian, about to walk out and perform the titular tune as a duet, with a wedding ceremony planned for the grand finale, the entirety of it in front of a live concert audience. Instead, she emerges alone and, looking out among the attendees, sees a man, Charlie (Owen Wilson, Wonder), holding a homemade “Marry Me” sign. Why not, right? He’ll do just as well as any other, and the fans paid to see her get hitched, so …

It turns out that Charlie, a math teacher and divorced father of a tween girl, Lou (Chloe Coleman, Gunpowder Milkshake), is there by complete happenstance. Kat barely registers in his life, and he’s gone to the show merely to accompany fellow teacher (and bestie) Parker (Sarah Silverman, Battle of the Sexes), whose girlfriend has stood her up. Not only is he the complete opposite of Kat in almost all ways (which fits perfectly into the genre), but it turns out that he may just be the best person she could have randomly chosen from among the concertgoers. He has zero interest in her celebrity or money. But does he have any interest in her as a person, or she in him? That is indeed the question.

l-r: Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in MARRY ME ©Universal Pictures

The narrative issues, should we choose to consider them, revolve around why this pair would even try. It makes no sense, in the first place, that Charlie would walk up on stage and join Kat in union, nor that the two would try to keep up the pretense of the marriage, even with the publicity opportunity that Kat’s manager, Collin (John Bradley, American Satan), seizes to make up for her globally telecast meltdown. The deed was done in a moment of trauma, now let it go, no harm, no foul. But of course, then there would be no movie. So, if we are willing to jettison any insistence on realism, it’s possible to have a pretty good time. After all, everyone on screen is enjoying themselves immensely.

And that is the charm of Marry Me, in addition to some fine music. J.Lo has oodles of charisma, as does Wilson, and she and Maluma can really sing. Zero new cinematic ground may be broken (after all, there was once a 1999 film called Notting Hill with a not entirely dissimilar concept), but does that matter? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, perhaps it’s best to sit back, relax, and let love conquer all. If nothing much remains in mind afterwards, at least we can feel the minor joy of a divertissement well delivered. There are far worse ways to spend time.

l-r: Sarah Silverman and Chloe Coleman in MARRY ME ©Universal Pictures
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Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic, filmmaker, and educator. A member of both the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), as well as a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, he is Managing Editor at Film Festival Today; lead film critic at Hammer to Nail; formerly the host of the award-winning Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed, from Dragon Digital Media; and the author of Film Editing: Theory and Practice. In addition, he is a former cohost of The Fog of Truth, a podcast devoted to documentary cinema.

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