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'Marry Me' Review: Hit the theaters or Redbox date for Jennifer Lopez's latest?

This rom-com would have played very well about 15-20 years ago. What about today?
Credit: Universal Pictures

ST. LOUIS — Imagine being at a Jennifer Lopez concert. A big, planned event had gone wrong, and suddenly she was just staring at you… as you were holding up a sign saying, “Marry Me,” which happened to be her latest hit single and the whole idea behind the aforementioned event.

Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) is "you” in this case, an affable math teacher at the concert for his daughter. Lopez’s name may be Kat Valdez in this movie, but she’s essentially playing a version of her current lifestyle. One could argue someone who is TOO close to her real persona.

What happens in ‘Marry Me,” directed by Kat Coiro, doesn’t exactly require directions. It follows the cinema road map for a romantic comedy, even one carrying a couple capable stars. Wilson can cruise for three movies or so in this lovable and scruffy “whoops, how lucky I am” mode of acting, and it usually works.

Lopez’s omission from the Oscars for her thrilling portrayal of opportunity on fire in “Hustlers” must have landed her back in this familiar stage of her career, one that kickstarted her movie career. It’s a dull role and performance that could have gone somewhere if the actress chose to be bold with it. Her role in Lorene Scafaria’s strip club odyssey was so good due to how sinister she was in the film.

Lopez was taking a chance there; here, it’s the period in time long after “A Star Is Born” where a worldwide superstar finally understands what’s been the poison pill in her four marriages. What would drive her to accept an artificial proposal from a dazed and confused stranger in Charlie to marry him, minutes after finding out your former fiancé cheated on you.

Harper Dill and John Rogers' script goes nowhere with the interesting setup-adapted from Bobby Crosby's graphic novel. Don’t worry, they left out all the interesting graphic parts out of the adaptation, which plays out like an episode of the sitcom you stopped watching 15 years ago. There’s little of interest here, outside of semi-cuteness during any scenes involving children.

Coiro leans hard into the social media’s glamorization of a star and how it attempts to encapsulate every big deal in her life. But it’s done in an insufferable manner here, with no real insight (“it’s good for the brand”) or charm. It’s as robotic as the rest of the movie.

Even the very funny Sarah Silverman fails to translate many laughs from the “been there, seen that often” screenplay; a collection of all the unfunny stuff from “The Wedding Planner,” but minus McConaughey and the rest of the underrated cast.

Lopez and Wilson do their best to lift up the tedious material, but this should be your third choice at a Redbox in about six weeks.

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