director: kat coiro (life happens)
starring: jennifer lopez, owen wilson, chloe coleman, and sarah silverman
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
Music superstars Kat Valdez and Bastian are getting married before a global audience of fans. But when Kat learns, seconds before her vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd, instead.
Marry Me is a vivacious romantic comedy centred on the unlikely pairing of Jennifer Lopez’s Kat Valdez, an internationally famous pop star, with Owen Wilson’s maths teacher Charlie Gilbert. These two are thrust into an ostensible relationship following an incredible moment of spontaneity from Kat, having learned just prior to their extremely public wedding that her fiancé, the equally famous Bastian (Maluma), cheated on her.
Of all of the people standing in the crowd watching Kat as she learned this truth, one person captures her eye - Charlie, holding a sign a friend gave him, emblazoned with the words: Marry Me. “If you want something different, you have to do something different” Kat says in equal measure to the audience as to herself, before pointing out Charlie and his sign, to say yes.
As fun and improbable as the premise is, Marry Me is made much more compelling through its exploration of why these people would agree to do and keep doing something so ridiculous. Kat has had several marriages in her life, and still believes wholeheartedly in the institution, but was brought down by partners she couldn't trust. Charlie feels he is losing his young daughter, she’s growing up and is much more interested in the lifestyle her well-off stepfather can give her and her mother. Charlie’s job as a math's teacher, which he loves, exemplifies how she feels about him: that he is boring, and unwilling to give new things a try.
Jennifer Lopez is perfect as Kat, the hurt and lovelorn star, and Owen Wilson brings a charming sense of good-natured groundedness to his Charlie. They are a surprisingly convincing pair, selling the shift from the odd couple trope in the beginning to a more meaningful connection, where Kat and Charlie see things in each other that help them both change and grow.
Of the supporting cast, Sarah Silverman is undoubtedly the standout here as Charlie’s friend and work colleague Parker, their school’s counsellor. Her Parker is hilarious, and she absolutely loves getting to sample the life of the super famous alongside a hesitant Charlie, encouraging him to explore this new kind of life.
The music of Marry Me is also impressive, with the soundtrack performed by both Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, their songs scoring the film and also serving as recordings made by their characters in the film, representing the stage of their journey they are on. For instance, it was quite sweet when Kat, in an interview with Jimmy Fallon alongside Bastian, realised in the moment who it really was for, that she wrote her hit new song “On my way”, which leads perfectly to the heartwarming finale.
While Marry Me may tread familiar ground in some respects its novel premise, great cast and impressive pop soundtrack make it entirely compelling with both heartwarming moments and hilarious ones aplenty.