“She’s a woman in a business that marginalizes women at any age.”Colin (John Bradley) in “Marry Me”
Marry Me premiered back on Valentine’s Day weekend and was released last week on DVD and Blu-Ray. I hadn’t received a screener back in February but started a Peacock subscription just to watch as a fan of some of Jennifer Lopez’s previous works, including the romantic comedy “The Wedding Planner.”
Here’s the official synopsis: A heartbroken pop star (Jennifer Lopez), slated to marry her pop star fiancé (Maluma) on stage, instead marries a stranger from the audience – a high school math teacher (Owen Wilson). Against the odds, their relationship develops into something real…but can their love survive the limelight?
I must admit, anyone who watches this film will definitely be entertained – it was the number one streaming movie the weekend it debuted. It has a great soundtrack, fashion to die for, a love story involving a single father with a beautiful kid and a dog named Tank – who may be up for the best cast pet this year.
But what the story appeared to be missing with all its glitz and fun was a consistent story of a fully developed woman seeking love and companionship in 2022. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I believe Lopez’s character Kat was confident, but not assuredly enough to speak on some of the lines that her love interest Charlie delivers.
One such incident for me is when Charlie questions a styling decision that Kat chooses. Now this isn’t a young love story a la “Beyond the Lights” where Gugu Mbatha-Raw is the insecure artist trying to fit in the industry and maintain popularity with her choice of style – including the long weave – but has her natural hair accepted and confirmed by love interest played by Nate Parker. That came across as assuring and loving.
Charlie telling a well-established and mature Kat what she does and doesn’t need to wear came across to me as judgmental and unnecessary, and established to me that “Marry Me” wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be as a story – in addition to a few formulaic choices thrown in for good measure.
And the fact that the film cast the extremely funny Michelle Buteau (The First Wives Club), as Kat’s assistant Melissa, and the amazing John Bradley (Game of Thrones), as her manager Colin, and underused both left so much to be desired. For the gem that Colin drops at the beginning of this piece, the film isn’t as empowering as it could and should have been.
“The rules as they exist pretty much suck for women. I mean why do we have to wait for men to propose? Why is everything on his terms? No, I think it is time to shake things up. We pick the guy, we keep our name and let him earn the right to stay.”Kat (Jennifer Lopez) “Marry Me”
Even with the above quote, I felt the writers utilized poor narrative choices, allowing what may have been a great, untraditional love story to be diminished – and the story just as unsure of what it wanted as Kat’s initial decision-making.
My recommendation, going into this one for those who haven’t yet viewed, is to take it for what it’s worth, enjoy the antics and music and, if you already have Peacock, consider it a fair date night watch.
But if you want more solid MMT picks, go with “The High Note,” featuring Tracee Ellis Ross, Dakota Johnson, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. for the mature, conflicted entertainer, love, and empowerment story, or the aforementioned “Beyond the Lights” which also focuses on an entertainer finding love and is directed by the magnificent Gina Prince-Bythewood.
I rate Marry Me 3 (sparingly and because it deserves more than a 2.5) out of 5 on the MMTrometer. Don’t worry, if you’ve seen film and drastically disagree you are in good company! Check out my fellow Bananameter.com critics’ score (70% fresh) and those audience and critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes are decent as well (92 and 61% fresh respectively). But at this point in Ms. Lopez’s career, especially after her dynamic turn in “Hustlers,” I needed more.
Until next thought, Thomasena
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