The cinematic romantic comedy is rare nowadays. The once-popular genre that brought us classics like When Harry Met Sally… and My Best Friend’s Wedding has now shifted from the big screen to the small screen by way of streaming services. Films like Always Be My Maybe, Set It Up, and the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy have found great success on streaming services, thus making the theatrical romantic comedy nearly obsolete. Sure, we get a Crazy Rich Asians or a Long Shot every now and then, but they are too few and too far between from even a decade ago
But while watching Marry Me, a new romantic comedy from director Kat Coiro, I felt transported back to the classic romantic comedy era of the mid-90s. Marry Me is a simple, cheesy, delightful movie with an absurdly fun plot led by its two excellent lead performances.
Jennifer Lopez, no stranger to the romantic comedy herself, stars as Kat Valdez, a megastar on the music scene who has millions of fans around the world. She is currently engaged to fellow superstar Bastian (Colombian singer Maluma) and the two plan to exchange vows live on stage at their next concert. During the concert, however, Kat finds out that Bastian cheated on her with her assistant. In a moment of complete shock in front of all of her fans, Kat decides to marry Charlie (Owen Wilson), an oblivious man in the crowd who is holding a sign that says, “Marry Me” on it because his friend asked him to hold it while she live-streamed the concert. Charlie, a single father, agrees to the marriage, and thus, the two are married.
But that’s where it gets complicated. Neither of them thought this through in the slightest and now they are married without knowing a thing about each other. Rather than play it off as a publicity stunt, Kat and Charlie agree to give the marriage a try, which requires both of them to make some major life adjustments.
The plot of the film might seem ridiculous: a pop superstar agrees to marry a random stranger at one of her concerts? There’s no way that could happen in real life, right? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Highly unlikely? Sure. But impossible? We’ve seen celebrities do crazier things, this would barely register as the craziest thing a celebrity has ever done. But also, the far-fetched plot of Marry Me is a classic romantic comedy trope. How is this any more ridiculous than Sleepless in Seattle, where a woman in Baltimore can fall in love with a man in Seattle just by hearing his voice on the radio? Or any less-believable than the movie-star loving an ordinary man in Notting Hill? Or how about when a man begins to hear women’s thoughts which allows him to fall in love in What Women Want? There has always been a slight fantastical and dreamy element to romantic comedies, particularly those of the 90s and 2000s, and Marry Me’s seemingly ridiculous plot is the right amount of fantasy
The ridiculous plot and cheesiness of Marry Me work even better because of the performances from Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. If you had any questions about Lopez as a movie star, this movie will change that. Lopez oozes talent and charisma. She sings, she dances, has moments of comedy, has moments of drama, and always makes us root for Kat. Kat is a woman who saw her life flipped upside down in a fleeting moment and made a huge life decision without really thinking. With the pressures of fame and constantly in the limelight with a number of people always helping her, Kat learns how to accept the consequences of her actions and that no matter how many people she hires, they can’t solve all of her problems.
Wilson is very charming with a very thin character. There really isn’t much to Charlie. He’s a single dad who works as a math teacher who coaches the school’s math club, his daughter, who goes to the school he teaches at, growing away from him, he has an adorable dog as a pit and a whacky best friend (Sara Silverman). There really isn’t much more to Charlie, but Wilson is funny, sweet, the right amount of dopy, and just attractive enough to make this relationship plausible.
It might seem like a ridiculous plot, but Marry Me is a delightfully cheesy romantic comedy reminiscent of those of the 90s thanks to the great chemistry between its lead actors, the killer soundtrack, its simplicity, its comedy, and its heart.