Movie review: 'Marry Me' marries Jennifer Lopez's greatest talents

Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson share a private moment in "Marry Me." Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
1 of 5 | Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson share a private moment in "Marry Me." Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Jennifer Lopez has had her biggest successes as a singer and when she stars in romantic comedies. Marry Me, in theaters and streaming on Peacock Friday, combines her greatest talents in the ultimate J-Lo movie.

Kat Valdez (Lopez) is a pop star, much like the real Lopez. Thus, the film already gives Lopez ample opportunity to perform original music composed for it. Kat performs on stage, her songs set montages in motion and her romantic adventure allows her to sing for fun.


Kat and her fiance Bastian (Maluma) performed the duet "Marry Me" to preview their impending wedding, which they'll have at a concert. But, when Kat learns that Bastian cheated on her, she picks single father Charlie (Owen Wilson) out of the audience and decides to marry him instead.


Charlie wasn't even supposed to be at the concert. He's a math teacher who only filled in when some other ticket holders bailed.

As contrived ideas go, Marry Me answers all the basic questions a skeptical viewer would have about this premise. Kat is vulnerable after her huge personal and professional event collapses. Making this rash decision also gives her a chance to take the narrative back from Bastian.

Charlie goes along with it on stage to be polite, but he does take some convincing to keep up the relationship the next day. Kat's team offers fundraiser opportunities for the school, so Charlie does it for a good cause, but still tries to protect his daughter, Lou (Chloe Coleman), from the spotlight.

The film also addresses any uncomfortable parts. Kat and Charlie still live apart. They basically start dating after they've filed marriage paperwork.

Charlie remains skeptical about the arrangement, like he's just going along with the Kat show. And indeed, the Kat show is full-time, as she hires videographers to record her every activity for possible social media content. The celebrity whirlwind that intrudes on Charlie's life updates Notting Hill for the social media age.

Still, Kat truly commits to Charlie. She wants to get to know him and take a chance on this whim. The viewer also gets the impression that taking a break from the grind of appearances, makeup and wardrobe, and a life orchestrated minute by minute is also appealing for her.


Marry Me also alludes to Kat's history of weddings, so Lopez allowed the film to be subtly autobiographical to her much publicized love life. Bastian bears more than a passing resemblance to Lopez's third husband, singer Marc Anthony.

Of course, Hollywood eventually returns and really tests whether Kat and Charlie's connection can withstand the reality of their lifestyles. Marry Me is as honest as a mainstream movie can be about celebrity and relationships, while still pleasing the audience.

Marry Me is hardly a hard-hitting expose about tabloid culture and the marriage industrial complex. It is an endearing rom-com between an everyman and a star. The music is fun and begs the question of why Lopez hasn't done a full-on musical yet.

Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001 and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012. Read more of his work in Entertainment.

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