Running time: 112 minutes. Rated PG-13 (some language and suggestive material.) In theaters and on Peacock.
Jennifer Lopez has the best sense of humor in Hollywood. Take the plot of her bubbly new romantic comedy, “Marry Me,” out Friday on Peacock†
Playing pop superstar Kat Valdez, she is about to wed a sexy singer named Bastian (played by Colombian sensation Maluma) live on TV for an audience of 20 million. Then, moments before the nuptials, Page Six reveals that her fiancé went to third base with her assistant.
“Why do I always pick the wrong guys?” she says.
Adding even more authenticity, Page Six’s own Ian Mohr has a role in the film as a gossip reporter. (He’s since turned into a huge diva. I have to pick up his matcha latte when I’m finished with this.)
For Lopez, who also produced the movie, casting a real Page Sixer who has written extensively about her life is a confident move — and speaks to why “Marry Me,” as formulaic as it is, is such an enjoyable romp. J.Lo exudes A-list star power in a way we’re not used to seeing in movies anymore. She’s proud of who she is and bares few insecurities. We feel downright lucky to spend a couple of hours with her.
The 1990s-style shakeup in Harper Dill and John Rogers’ script (based on Bobby Crosby’s graphic novel) is that, immediately after the Bastian cheating scandal, Kat decides from up onstage to wed the first man she sees in the crowd. That’s Charlie, a Brooklyn middle school math teacher played by Owen Wilson, who doesn’t own a smartphone and hardly knows who Kat is.
With the encouragement of the coworker (a toned-down Sarah Silverman) who dragged him to the concert, he plays along, and what begins as a publicity stunt — the couple appears together on talk shows and Instagram Stories — grows into something deeper. A smitten Kat cancels a work trip to Japan to visit Charlie’s after-school math team practice and meets his young daughter.
It’s a 2020s “Notting Hill.” And in the same way that much more subtle movie was built around Julia Roberts’ exploding fame and beaming smile, “Marry Me” rides the coattails of Lopez’s stage presence and music. Her catchy new tunes — “Marry Me,” “Love of My Life,” “On My Way” — are a lot more listenable than most of the 2022 Best Song Oscar nominees. Re-dancing? Still world class. And, as far as her recent rom-coms go, this one is leagues above “Second Act.”
Wilson, who we 100% believe could be a math teacher, sticks to his bashful everyman shtick. He’s an ideal foil for super suave Maluma. And more sparks fly between him and Lopez than you’d expect. Perhaps when they weren’t being pursued by a giant Amazonian snake in 1997’s “Anaconda,” an off-camera romance was brewing.
Good on J.Lo for protecting the integrity of flighty rom-coms. Every movie need not be so serious and socially conscious. Sometimes all we want — no, all we need — is to watch Jennifer Lopez try and fail to make a decent smoothie in a luxurious Hamptons mansion. And there’s nothing wrong with that.