TL;DR – This is a film that oozes charm from start to finish, an absolute delight
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Marry Me Review –
It is the time of year when romantic films explode out of the ether, as everyone and their dog try to make the most of the upcoming Valentine’s Day. This can lead to many soulless, one-note productions, the latest romantic comedy just going through the motions. However, among all of these entries, the gems smash through and leave a mark in their wake. This week we look at just such a film that might not be travelling over the new ground but was still a joy at every moment.
So to set the scene, the whole world is gearing up for the most prominent social media event of the decade. Power couple and performers Katalina “Kat” Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) will be releasing their new duet Marry Me at a concert streamed to millions and millions of people. After the duet, they would marry each other in front of the whole world. Meanwhile, a New York dad and maths teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), is trying to reconnect with his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) when he gets roped in by his best friend Parker Debbs (Sarah Silverman) to come to the concert. The concert goes off without a hitch when just moments before they were about to have their vows, a news report leaks about Bastion being unfaithful. While Kat’s manager Collin Calloway (John Bradley), tries to work out what to do, Kat takes matters into her own hands and, seeing Charlie holding a ‘Marry Me’ sign, decides what the hell and marries him instead.
Marry Me is a film that could have quickly fallen into a sappy mess, but it doesn’t, and a lot of that comes down to the excellent casting. You could not have found a better actor for Kat than Jennifer Lopez because she brings so much of herself to the role. When they talk about how the music industry treats Kat, the Ven diagram between the character and the actor is very close. She brings that pain and joy into the work, taking what could have been a very one-note character and giving it depth and complexity. Conversely, Owen Wilson fits perfectly as the guy who hopped up on that stage half out of confusion about what was happening and half because he wanted to help someone who looked like there were going to have a very public (and understandable) breakdown.
The strength of the cast is not just in the two leads, with every cast member coming to the table and giving a fantastic performance. Sarah Silverman’s Parker is not just the sassy best friend, but someone who genuinely cares for Charlie like a little brother. John Bradley’s Collin is Kat’s manager and is equally okay with paying Charlie off and seeing her get back with Bastian. Still, he is not there to make himself look good. He is entirely focused on Kat’s welfare, and thankfully not in a creepy ‘he wants to be her lover’ kind of way. Maluma is so charismatic as Bastian that you 100% get that shock and confusion of Kat in the critical moments as he waltzes in swans around. Also, Chloe Coleman was a delight every time she was on screen. Starting the film with this strong casting makes everything that follows hit a little harder because you care for these characters by the end. It also doesn’t hurt that the film turned Jimmy Fallon into an absolute arse.
Another strength of the film is the music. By casting both Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, you knew that the music component of the film was going to be strong, but it surpasses even the high bar I had walking in. Much of the focus is on the songs Marry Me and Pa Ti, for a good reason. But if I had to pick my favourite, it would be On My Way, which comes towards the film’s end. It sits sort of halfway between a ballad and a belter, and it is still stuck in my head. Though I will say that there one performance that includes some very sexy nuns and priests that will probably upset the Catholic Church. It also helped that they slipped from English to Spanish throughout the film with the ease of people who are bilingual. The movie just expects you to keep up with it, and I respect it for that choice. It also helps that this is a prefect exploration of the world of social media and its impact in the world, especially in and around the music industry.
To be clear, this is not a film that is charting any new ground in the genre. Indeed, you will probably be able to chart out the narrative’s course from the first five minutes, and you would probably be right. Indeed, it works in the same area as many other films, from Notting Hill to Ever After to Stardust. This could have been a significant issue for the film, but it is not because everyone was clearly committed to stamping this film with real personality. You can see the voices of the director, cinematographer, writers, and actors come out throughout the film. This crafts characters you care about, scenarios that suck you in, and a story you want to see to the end, even if you might have already guessed what that ending would be. Marry Me is a film that oozes charm from start to finish and is a delight because of it.
In the end, do we recommend Marry Me? Yes, yes, we do. Now to be fair, it could be that the loneliness of two odd years of a pandemic has meant that this was the perfect film to watch at this moment in time for me. But honestly, I think it is more than that. This was a joy to watch from start to finish with a cast that was a delight. If you liked Marry Me, we would also recommend to you Top End Wedding.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Marry Me
Directed by – Kat Coiro
Screenplay by – John Rogers, Tami Sagher & Harper Dill
Based on – Marry Me by Bobby Crosby
Music by – John Debney
Cinematography by – Florian Ballhaus
Edited by – Michael Berenbaum
Production/Distribution Companies – Nuyorican Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Kung Fu Monkey Productions, Belle Hope Productions & Universal Pictures
Starring – Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, John Bradley, Sarah Silverman, Chloe Coleman, Michelle Buteau, Ricky Guillart, Stephen Wallem, Jameela Jamil, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Khalil Middleton,
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 0; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12a; United States: PG-13