Marry Me (2022)
⭐½ (1½ stars out of 5)
Marry Me (2022) Directed by Kat Coiro
A drab romantic comedy that is at least innocuous and innocent enough to concentrate its familiar gooey storytelling stereotypes, though it’s also bad enough at deciding what exactly it wants to do with the clichéd material it has. Marry Me has the commercial triteness of a pompous TV show showcasing its ”musical” stars as the center of the universe and of social life in modern technology; and of course, this is another one of those contemporary movies that has the impulsive urge to scream at us we’re-in-the-2020’s-and-we-use-social-networks-as-idiots-without-lives.
It’s almost a truism to say that romantic comedies are one of the most routine, insipid, and difficult genres to make authentic in cinema, many great romantic comedy films have been made yet if we put on a scale the bad ones with the good ones, the bad ones break the scale. The traditional narrative of an impossible love story that then becomes possible is one of the most charming and undoubtedly entertaining improbabilities to put on screen, and the naivety coupled with the popular emotionalism, evidently gives the film sparks of superficial spectacle that can be contagious. The unsophisticated way of organizing the dramatic acts, having irritatingly the musical scenes intervening prolongedly as a simple show but not a movie, make its inert minutes of duration, something very artificial, and it is very likely that the artificiality has been sought with intentions of wanting to lock itself in being an affable romantic comedy but nothing more; nevertheless the vapid treatment given to the dynamic of romantic rhetoric is extremely wrong, discordant and incongruent with the itinerant structure of the narrative. The film takes rapid-fire steps as if it were a musical montage, it wants to make clichés into something multifacetedly narrative in this insubstantial energetic continuity of a huge variety of idiosyncrasies of star life. Marry Me blatantly tells us that it is a garish film to show the only thing that matters to this production: Jennifer Lopez and Maluma. It looks like a chaotic commercial advertisement for their songs, which do not interest me in the slightest.
I’ve always had a conundrum: why is it that pop stars have always believed that singer equals actor? I may never have an answer, but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the compulsion to stop such a bad movie and just go to sleep, I didn’t, but I still felt the need. Every single scene featuring the pseudo-musician and now pseudo-actor Maluma made me want to kill myself while watching him and question why I subject myself to this kind of torture. Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson blissfully give a great deal of oxygen to this already agonizingly bad movie, both solid performances giving infectiously endearing nuances to two characters that are basically a carbon copy of other characters written ad nauseam in film. Marry Me has every situation you’d expect in a movie of this nature, starting with shamelessly extravagant romantic irrationality, then giving us delicious empty calories that make us feel full, and eventually ending with trivial parallel actions.
It’s the kind of script that with a few small changes and a big erasure of its superfluity would end up solving the dramatic conflict vaguely presented here, leaving you with a 10-minute film, i.e. a short film, and you wouldn’t have missed anything important. The movie is about music superstars Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) who are getting married in front of a worldwide audience of fans. But when Kat finds out, seconds before saying their wedding vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she decides to end up marrying Charlie (Owen Wilson), a complete stranger in the audience. Soon the two get to know each other better and end up falling madly in love.
A film that has a chronic silliness from start to finish, the kind of corniness that certainly tells you that it is a production aware of its high idiocy exposure, and consequently knows that its innumerable use of narrative clichés will be the only tools to at least visually and narratively deceive that it is a solid romantic comedy. The playful and relaxed attitude of the lead actors, Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez deliver enough refulgent charisma to give the story compacted emotions, pronouncedly feels like a film inexorable in how it wants to develop its narrative conventions, but at least if anything I can detail that it does well, it’s the instant moments given to the romantic duo Wilson and Lopez so they can give vitality to the drama, which by all accounts is mostly banal and absurd. Nevertheless, let’s remember that this film is a bombastic exercise in showcasing its musical stars, and it’s precisely that materialistic approach to the singers that makes it impossible to sustain the romantic populism; I firmly believe that this film could pass as your everyday TV commercial promoting a new song by some famous artist, and the exaggerated narcissism given to these two people, Lopez and the exasperating Maluma, leaves a film totally unbalanced, leaves you jaded by its incongruities and above all leaves you bored with its problematic form executed with obstructive wide-angle lenses that malform an already mediocre mise-en-scène by making it more erroneously obvious. .
It’s briskly paced, yet it’s not as fast-paced as one might think; the film gets bogged down between its musical acts that reiterate in their utter laziness to the romance. The soporific romance has all the representative quirks of a romantic comedy that gets things right, yet it doesn’t use those tropes as they should, for example it stolidly uses the common-man-meets-famous-woman storytelling, something that has consistently worked despite the implausibility that style of storytelling brings with it, but the flabby direction here manipulates the obvious with too much sentimental demagoguery. The wonderful connection born in the performances of Lopez and Wilson is skimmed over, the romance feels minimally convincing, but the inattentive, rambunctious and slapdash direction always disrupts the natural course of the performances, which are clearly having a good time and doing what they can with the empty script.
Frustratingly, the movie is unnecessarily extended, it wants to remind us emphatically that when we finish watching this movie we must buy the soundtrack; pure marketing made into a movie, and I really hate this indiscriminate and conventional way of making movies. For those of you who don’t know me, this is the kind of movie that makes me want to smash the screen because of the awful mess I’m watching.