'Marry Me' Is a Half-Decent Proposal

Directed by Kat Coiro

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Sarah Silverman, John Bradley, Maluma

BY Alex HudsonPublished Feb 10, 2022

Have you watched Sleepless in Seattle lately? I saw it a couple weeks ago, and found it impossible to ignore the fact that the entire plot hinged on Meg Ryan creepily stalking a complete stranger. Which is to say: a lot of rom-coms aren't actually very romantic once you stop and think about them for half a second. Rom-coms, even the good ones, operate within their own universes with their own sets of rules — and enjoying them usually requires abandoning all critical thinking.

The same is very much true of Marry Me, the new Valentine's Day rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez as a pop star who randomly marries a fan at one of her concerts. J.Lo plays Kat Valdez, a singer planning to marry boyfriend Bastian (Maluma) in an onstage ceremony as part of the promotional cycle for her single "Marry Me." After a last-minute discovery that Bastian cheated on her, she ends up marrying someone from the audience — Charlie (Owen Wilson), a single dad and high-school math teacher who happened to be standing in the crowd with a "MARRY ME" sign.

The whole thing is totally ridiculous, but to the film's credit, it knows it. The silly concept actually kind of works thanks to the excellent cast: J.Lo seems intimidating enough to pass as a celebrity but nice enough to be likeable, while Owen Wilson is perfectly Owen Wilson-y. John Bradley plays Kat's manager Collin with the same awkward kindness he brought to Game of Thrones as Sam, while Sarah Silverman gets all of the best lines as Charlie's best friend.

Marry Me is cut from the same cloth as those turn-of-the-millennium rom-coms you find in the $5 DVD bins at corner stores (Miss Congeniality 2, perhaps). And in that sense, Marry Me definitely isn't any worse than you'd expect from the synopsis. It's the second-best movie I've seen about a celebrity who falls in love with a pleb. (Here looking at you, Notting Hill.)

The film's most notable fumbles come when it deviates from the rom-com formula during too-long sections devoted to Kat's music. J.Lo performs multiple bland pop songs, her voice descending deep into the uncanny valley of Auto-Tune. Marry Me seems to exist partly just to make the real-life J.Lo look good, as Kat is constantly talking about how she writes her own songs and works with charities. And shout-out to Marry Me for the world's most blatant Wix.com product placement. I hear you can build a new website there in minutes! 

But so long as Kat and Charlie are onscreen together, Marry Me is actually half-decent. Even if the circumstances are totally implausible, Lopez and Wilson have chemistry. 

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