The romantic comedy is a genre that has seen a decline in quality since the takeover of streaming services. Services like Netflix churn out cheap rom-coms like there’s no tomorrow, with maybe 1 in 5, or even 1 in 10, actually being great. The larger (typically higher budget) cinema-released romantic comedy isn’t really seen as much nowadays… but when one does come around, like Marry Me, it’s almost always an absolute joy!
Marry Me follows worldwide music superstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez), whose high-profile wedding is called off at the last minute when she finds out her fiancé had been cheating on her. In a moment of spontaneity, she decides to marry a random man from the crowd instead. Right off the bat, the first thing I have to say about Marry Me is that I have absolutely nothing bad to say. This is a lighthearted, fun and genuinely enjoyable romantic comedy that managed to put a smile on my face from the opening scene til well beyond the credits started rolling. Every minute was as fun as the last – the perfect example of a film that isn’t a breakthrough within its genre, but is so genuinely entertaining that it’s resulted in one of my favourite recent movie experiences. In terms of the story, does it do anything spectacularly original? No. You know where the story is going to go, and it hits all of those beats, but it still felt fresh enough to where I didn’t feel like I was watching something I’d seen before. It’s such an uplifting, vibrant and positive story that it’s really hard to not love everything that’s going on.
When it comes to romantic comedies, because there’s so much focus on the dialogue and the relationships, liking the characters is crucial to the enjoyment of the film. In Marry Me, I bought right into the main characters, their backstories and their lives, and was wholly invested in seeing their relationship flourish. I was rooting for both Kat and Charlie (Owen Wilson) in every single moment, showing just how strong the writing and performances were for the both of them. I understood the characters, where they were coming from, and loved every single story beat focused on the two of them. I even enjoyed the side characters of this romantic comedy – a statement I rarely ever say, since the side characters are almost always hollow shells used purely for poorly executed comedic relief.
Something that’s absolutely not wasted in this film are Jennifer Lopez’s talents. Not only does she flex her acting abilities, but she has a number of scenes where her performing and singing talents are put on full show. Every other scene incorporates some sort of musical number where J.Lo is performing, and it’s an absolute blast to watch. She’s a superstar performer, so any time she pulls out the mic and does anything in this film it amplifies the quality tenfold. The music plays into the story quite well, and they’re also good songs on their own, meaning you can go listen to the soundtrack afterwards if you want to be blessed with having the song Marry Me stuck in your head for days.
I’ve mentioned how enjoyable J.Lo is in this film, but it’s her unlikely connection and brilliant chemistry with Owen Wilson that makes this all work so well. The idea of the two of them together in a romantic comedy sounds odd from the get-go, but the way they play off each other throughout the film had me wholly invested in their characters’ relationship. They both contribute in the more dramatic, emotional elements of the film, but also both deliver some solid comedic beats throughout. I found myself getting some good chuckles from the very light, silly humour in here. There’s no bombastic laugh-out-loud moments, but there’s a number of smaller one-liners that make each scene more of a good time. Sarah Silverman, John Bradley and Michelle Buteau each have their individual times to shine with meaningful moments and little quips. Sarah Silverman specifically lights up the screen whenever she shows up, dishing out her pristine comedic timing.
In the end, I don’t know if there’ll be another 2022-released film that will top the level of sweet joy Marry Me dishes out. It’s by no means an amazing film, and it’s definitely not the best-made romantic comedy out there, but there’s no denying the fact that its a film full of pure joy from beginning to end. The story isn’t entirely original, but it’s the lighthearted tone, charming performances, entertaining love story and little touches of humour that make it a perfectly fun time. Complete with a series of brilliant vocal performances from Jennifer Lopez, this is a rom-com I’d certainly watch again. It won’t be as high-rated as other films throughout the year, but it’ll be the one I want to rewatch the most.