Marry Me isn’t even worth a second date.
New romantic comedy Marry Me marks a reunion for stars Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, both of whom appeared in 1997’s Anaconda. Indeed, Anaconda may stay in viewers minds while watching Marry Me, as the prospect of a giant CGI snake appearing out of nowhere to swallow both of the leads isn’t an unappealing notion. Also likely to visit viewers’ minds during the film may be this week’s grocery list, or perhaps how the tile in the shower desperately needs regrouted. The point is, Marry Me is the type of movie that affords plenty of time to think about such mundanities, as nothing of interest is ever happening on screen, a rather impressive feat given the general insanity that constitutes its plot. Lopez stars as Kat Valdez, an international pop superstar set to marry Latin singing sensation Bastian (Maluma) at an upcoming Madison Square Garden concert. They are currently at the top of the charts with their duet entitled “Marry Me,” the release of which naturally coincides with their upcoming nuptials. But as fate would have it, Kat discovers that Bastian is sleeping with her assistant mere minutes before The Big Event, resulting in the heartbroken songstress picking out a random nobody from the crowd of thousands, a lone man holding a “Marry Me” sign, and the two are immediately wed. That nobody in question is local math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), who is in attendance with his tween daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) and best friend Parker (Sarah Silverman). And so, what begins as a publicity stunt naturally turns into true love, as Kat learns that being normal is pretty cool, while Charlie discovers that sleeping with someone who looks like Jennifer Lopez is something even better than pretty cool.
Marry Me desperately tries to gloss over its ridiculous plot with a surfeit of musical numbers courtesy of Lopez and a lot of awkward conversations in which both of its participants try to make sense of what is happening, all to no avail. Let us imagine, for one brief moment, someone like Adele pointing to a stranger in a concert audience and instantly marrying him. This would signal not a heartbroken star, but someone in the middle of a profound psychological breakdown. Both parties acknowledge the lunacy of the situation, but proceed to go along with it for six months because, hey, love at first sight happens all the time. Plus, Kat doesn’t want to look like a fool. (Sorry to say, but that ship has sailed.) Naturally, then, Kat ends up falling for Charlie, because that’s how rom-coms this clichéd go. In what basically amounts to a fish-out-of-water tale, Charlie ultimately teaches Kat what it is to be a normal human being again. He takes her to his high school fall semi-formal, he invites her on walks with his lazy bulldog, she shows up at his Math Club meetings, which inspires his shy daughter to overcome her fear of public speaking through the art of dance. It’s all very cutesy and very stupid, its two leads never once approaching anything even remotely resembling chemistry. At best, Lopez and Wilson come across as two individuals who once worked together and are enjoying catching up with one another, sexual attraction so markedly off the table that it isn’t even featured on the menu. Lopez has proven in the past that she is capable of delivering strong performances, but she needs a filmmaker who is willing to push her beyond mere cruise control. Director Kat Coiro is not that filmmaker; rather, she’s the kind who opts for handheld shaky cam when the two leads get in an argument. Marry Me is certainly slickly produced, but it’s an absolute chore to sit through, pummeling viewers with 112 minutes until its inevitable conclusion, which naturally includes a last-minute flight and a nail-biter of a Math-A-thon. The only surprise to be found here comes during the film’s end credits, in which it is revealed that the story is based on a graphic novel. A graphic novel! Let that sink in. At least now Zack Snyder and Frank Miller can sleep soundly, assured that they didn’t produce the worst adaptation in the history of the medium. Marry Me isn’t even worth a second date.
You can catch Kat Coiro’s Marry Me in theaters or streaming on Peacock beginning on February 11.