Jennifer Lopez in a wedding dress seems like it should be considered it’s own sub-genre at this point, real life tabloid fodder aside the woman is the queen of wedding centered rom-com’s (take that Julia Roberts). Monster-In-Law, Marry Me, The Wedding Planner, the list goes on. Shotgun Wedding, her latest film which is premiering on Amazon Prime, may seem to be in line with the rest of these but looks can be deceiving.
Lopez plays Darcy, who is preparing to marry her fiancée Tom (the always solid Josh Duhamel) on a gorgeous island in the Philippines with friends and family surrounding them. In a nice twist it’s Duhamel’s Tom who is heading up the “ultra nervous, everything needs to be perfect” one while Darcy is concerned if she’s making the right choice. Rounding out the front line members are Darcy’s mother and rich father Robert (Cheech Marin), Tom’s mother (the universally loved Jennifer Coolidge) and, for some reason, he ex-fiance Sean played, of course, by Lenny Kravitz. Seriously…what’s with the trope of the ex being at the wedding, is this something that regularaly happens and I just didn’t know? Everyone comes together, the wedding goes off without a hitch, and the credits roll.
Wait, no, that’s not what happens. Obviously the island is stormed by pirates who are after Robert’s (Darcy’s father) vast wealth, as per the normal custom. The pirates successfully crash the wedding and hold everyone hostage save for the bride and groom. Darcy and Tom are left to avoid being captured and killed, save the hostages, and salvage their beautiful day.
This type of movie is an odd one, it’s almost like most people see it as an immediate guilty pleasure. You know you’re going to enjoy it but you almost don’t want to admit that, I’m here to tell you that it’s OK, you are totally allowed to enjoy films like this that are fun for the sake of being fun, after all isn’t that the point of movies in the first place? The story itself is rather thin, and there’s not much original ground covered but the stellar cast does the heavy lifting and elevates everything else. Honestly, I fell that I need to point out a member of the cast that I missed, the island itself. Not actually filmed in the Phillipines the gorgeous terrain on view for the duration of the film actually belongs to the Dominican Republic. If you look past the piracy and gunfights Jason Moore (the films director) delivers views that could easily be at home in a top level tourism campaign for the island.
While left without a ton to do Jennifer Coolidge once again proves that she is a welcome addition to any film. My only regret about her performance is that the epic slo-mo machine gun scene she gets to lead was spoiled in the films marketing. That woman is a national treasure. Cheech falls into the same vein of being underused, almost more so then Coolidge with no real stand out scenes to his credit here. Even still, I’ve never seen Cheech in a film and thought to myself “Hmm, this may be better without him”. Duhamel and Lopez are the shoulders on which the film really rests and they were definitely up to the task. While the chemistry between the two is questionable, with it being hard to tell if the chemistry we see is shared or just Lopez’s all encompassing wholly enveloping chemistry she has with the world, they work well together and the pair is believable.
Fun is the name of the game with Shotgun Wedding and it is not in short supply here. There may be some disappointed fans if they go in expecting a tear jerking, life affirming, romance filled sunburst of a Lopez rom-com, but even those folks are sure to enjoy their time. I totally appreciated that this was not another standard notch in this genre’s bedpost and would say it’s 100 minute runtime is fully worth the investment if you already have Amazon Prime.
Shotgun Wedding is streaming NOW on Amazon Prime