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‘Marry Me’: A waste of acting capabilities

| Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Makayla Hernandez I The Observer
Image sources: Peacock TV

“Marry Me” had every potential to be a good movie. The two leads — Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson — should have made romantic comedy a shoo-in for success. However, the movie itself was severely lacking. The plot point upon which the movie was based was unrealistic at best. It involved a single dad trying to seem less boring to his daughter, Lou. So far, so good. The only problem is that this attempt at appearing interesting wouldn’t usually result in a marriage. Similarly, the idea of Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), the dad in question, marrying Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) because it was the right thing to do, just didn’t sit well. Perhaps, romantic films don’t have to be works of complete realism. However, I think that viewers can find some plots easier to understand than others (and this was not one of them).

One thing that interested me about the marriage between Charlie and Kat was the insistence from Charlie that his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) shouldn’t meet Kat. To me, this suggests that the marriage between them is not real. Other characters deemed Charlie’s actions to be somewhat cynical, but I think that he was actually being realistic in this scene. One of the best aspects of Charlie’s character was arguably his attitude of practical realism, especially when it came to the odds of marriage. An example of this is when he begins telling Kat the statistics for marriages that end in divorce, then proceeds to recite the odds of successful remarriage. The fascinating part was that Kat held a different view than Charlie — she still believed that, despite the odds, things could work out.

Charlie’s cynicism towards marriage is somewhat misleading, however, considering he married a complete stranger. He justified his marriage by saying that it wasn’t real, but it still felt like a bit of a cop-out.

The Bastian storyline was another aspect of the movie that was a flawed portrayal. Bastian (Maluma), Kat’s fiancé and onstage partner, cheated on her with her assistant only to come back into her life when the two were nominated for a Grammy. The bothersome part was Charlie’s worry that Kat would go back to Bastian even after he cheated on her. I believe that this shows the flaws within their relationship. Even after things became “real” between the two leads, Charlie still doubted that a celebrity could actually choose him.

This premise seems like it would be more of an issue toward the end of the movie, especially as Charlie begins to disagree with Kat’s lifestyle. He criticizes her initially saying that everything in her life is a sponsorship, but this storyline is later dropped to focus in on Kat’s lack of self-sufficiency.

Ultimately, neither Kat nor Charlie undergoes enough character development to end up as a plausible couple. Maybe that’s the point of today’s romantic comedies — that is, creating unrealistic couples. But there must be a way for this to be done better. Take a look at one of Jennifer Lopez’s earlier films, “Maid in Manhattan,” which was done in a much more believable way, with both of the main characters’ attractions expressed clearly. By contrast, “Marry Me” seems content to leave the success of Kat and Charlie’s relationship a mystery.

All my critiques of the film aside, there were elements that I liked. Take Parker (Sarah Silverman), Charlie’s friend, was a very funny and interesting character. Still, I think it would’ve been fulfilling for Kat to say a few words to Parker’s ex-boyfriend.

The final scene where we get to see Lou overcome her fear at the Mathlathon after choking at the previous math finals was fulfilling to see. This fulfillment was diminished, though, when her math team lost in the finals. Likewise, the film itself falls short despite its more enjoyable moments, failing to live up to the potential of its talented lead actors.

Movie: “Marry Me”
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson
Director: Kat Coiro
If You Like: “Maid in Manhattan,” “Cars”
Shamrocks: 2.5 out of 5

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