Self-Indulgent ‘Marry Me’ has its Charms

Not all movies based on graphic novels entail superheroes. The Jennifer Lopez/Owen Wilson romantic comedy, Marry Me is actually based on one by Bobby Crosby. Surprised? Me too. What else is surprising about this paint-by-number film is that it’s not terrible. The Kat Coiro-directed film is not going to win any awards and feels like a self-indulgent exercise for Lopez who sings a number of original songs throughout. But dang it, she and Wilson are so likeable, it’s hard to dislike this film.

Bastian (Maluma) and Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) (Universal)

If you’ve seen the trailer for Marry Me, you already know how this story is going to go. Universal describes the movie as a modern love story about celebrity, marriage and social media. After their uber-popular tune, “Marry Me”, singing superstar couple Kat Valdez (Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) are about to partake in an over-the-top, outlandish wedding in a concert setting.

Meanwhile, divorced, mild-mannered math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) is struggling to connect with his daughter Chloe (Lou Gilbert). School counselor and friend, Parker Debbs (Sarah Silverman) convinces him to attend Kat’s concert as a way to impress Chloe.

Chloe (Lou Gilbert) and Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) (Universal)

At the concert, Kat and Bastian put on a good show, but when it’s time for the actual wedding, things go sideways. Just as the bride takes to the stage, she finds out that the love of her life has been cheating on her with her assistant. Staring out to the audience, Kat laments about love and then makes an outrageous decision. She chooses to marry a random guy (Charlie) in audience instead. Assuming that he’s preventing a breakdown, he agrees. From there, the two friends slowly get to know each other and eventually fall in love.

Kat and Charlie make a rather unusual pair. She is all about glitz and glammer, surrounded by numerous assitants making social media posts. He is rather boring. Next to his daughter, the most important thing in his life is the school’s math club. The bulk of the movie features scenes with Kat recording music in the studio with Charlie smiling approvingly, Kat promoting various products like the very real Vitamix and Guess jeans, and Kat making surprise appearances at Charlie’s school to “help” with the math club. The storyline is silly and predictable with no real conflict but somehow, Lopez and Wilson make the film palatable. As far as rom coms go, you could do worse.

Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) (Universal)

Still, this film is all about Lopez showcasing her many talents including one scene where she dances on stage with sexy nuns to a song that likens love to “church.” It’s borderline offensive. However, the new music is good and the soundtrack of the film will not doubt be a winner. The best of the new tunes is the ballad “On My Way.” Unfortunately, the movie feels like an infomercial for various products and NBC with references to the Today show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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