‘Marry Me’ Review: Jennifer Lopez’s Glorious Blast of Rom-Com Nostalgia

Back in the early 2000s, Jennifer Lopez had a brief but hugely successful reign as one of Hollywood’s go-to romantic comedy stars. Films such as The Wedding Planner and Maid in Manhattan charmed audiences by pairing Lopez with stars like Matthew McConaughey and Ralph Fiennes. So it’s a wild blast from the past to see her share the screen with Owen Wilson in Marry Me, which feels like a movie that could have been released decades ago.

Jennifer Lopez stands in a wedding dress in ‘Marry Me’
Jennifer Lopez in ‘Marry Me’ | Universal

‘Marry Me’ stars Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson

In Marry Me, Lopez stars as Kat Valdez, a pop music superstar and favorite media target. After discovering her fiancé, fellow pop star Bastian (Maluma), cheated on her, Kat decides to marry Charlie Gilbert (Wilson), a math teacher she spots in the audience at one of her shows. Kat and Charlie decide to keep the facade of their marriage up for a few months, just until the media frenzy calms down. And naturally, their plans change.

Anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy — particularly those in the 1990s and early 2000s — can more or less guess where Marry Me goes from there. Director Kat Coiro’s film follows a ton of beats aficionados of the genre will see coming a million miles away. And yet, despite the recurrence of many classic rom-com tropes, Marry Me proves to be a welcome change of pace in today’s glitzy, overblown, and IP-obsessed marketplace.

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The movie serves as a reflection of Jennier Lopez’s own life and career

With its “super-famous-celebrity-and-regular-guy-get-involved” plotline, Marry Me — based on the 2010 webcomic — feels like a pop music spin on 1999’s Notting Hill. Just like Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant’s charisma carry that film, so too do Lopez and Wilson in Marry Me. It’s plain to see that the former is riffing on her own life and career. At one point, Kat reveals she’s been married three times, the exact same as Lopez herself.

Even the broken engagement that kicks off Marry Me feels eerily prescient given the fate of Lopez’s relationship with Alex Rodriguez. Is there an air of image management at play for Lopez, who also produced the movie? Perhaps. Regardless, she brings such soul, depth, and grace to the role. And the movie sneaks in social (media) commentary about the Instagram generation, as Kat’s documentation of her life becomes a sticking point for her and Charlie.

‘Marry Me’ is coming to movie theaters and Peacock

Speaking of Wilson’s Charlie, any romantic comedy is only as good as the chemistry between its leads. And the actor’s aw-shucks relatability is the perfect complement for Lopez. Their romantic pairing might initially seem like an odd fit. But fans might be relieved to know this fuels the far-fetched premise of Marry Me. In fact, the contrast between Kat and Charlie — like that of Lopez and Wilson — becomes a strength, not a weakness.

In addition, the soundtrack for Marry Me features several fun original songs by both Lopez and Maluma. So if a pseudo-musical, early-2000s era romantic comedy starring Lopez and Wilson doesn’t sound appealing, then viewers probably shouldn’t bother. But if its stars, premise, and tone seem like a light-hearted, occasionally heartwarming time at the movies, then Marry Me delivers exactly what it promises. Just say “yes.”

Marry Me hits theaters and Peacock on Feb. 11, 2022.

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