Trigger Warning: Marry Me contains several scenes involving lights flashings, predominantly from cameras. Be advised in case you have any kind of light sensitivity.
Sometimes, when it comes to picking a movie, we want something easy. Not to say it should be predictable, but that we know exactly what we’re in for from the jump. Kat Coiro’s Marry Me, now available on home video, is exactly this film: a rom-com that delivers on both the romance and comedy in equal measure, offering a delightful escape from start to finish. Adapted from Bobby Crosby’s identically titled webcomic, Marry Me sees actors Jennifer Lopez (Maid in Manhattan) and Owen Wilson (Zoolander) portray two individuals at their own crossroads whose coming together may be entirely unlikely but seems undeniable. In concert with a spectacular soundtrack of Lopez tunes (performed throughout the film), Marry Me is cinematic comfort food that will entertain and delight on each watch.
If you’d like to learn about Marry Me without spoilers, please head to the initial theatrical/streaming review. Moving forward, there may be discussion of plot points amid the exploration of the bonus features.
Upon learning that her fiancé is cheating on her moments before they’re set to be publically wed on-stage during a concert, superstar Kat Valdez (Lopez) does the unthinkable: she goes ahead with it but picks someone out of the audience. Plucked from obscurity, math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Wilson) suddenly finds himself at the center of a PR storm as Kat and he navigate what their marriage means first publically and, then, to their surprise, to each other. Only time will tell if this accident is a mistake or kismet.
Maybe it’s the fact that the last really great romantic story I can remember in recent memory is the underappreciated 2020 Stella Meghie film The Photograph, but Marry Me just hits a certain spot that feels like has been missed for a long time. Marry Me’s well aware that it’s not meant to challenge any particular audience, just offer a simple escape, and it largely succeeds on charm alone. The script from John Rogers (Leverage: Redemption), Tami Sagher (Psych), and Harper Dill (The Mick) leans into this by giving us a high-fantasy (celeb falls in love with an everyperson) grounded with modern concerns (privacy in the digital age). Do we think that [insert random celebrity] would fall in love with someone in their audience at a show? The probability is low, but so is the likelihood that Cinderella is going to become a princess, so let’s not lean too hard on realistic expectations when watching a rom-com. There’s a delicate balance the script achieves in providing real tension (public persona vs. private) that keeps Kat and Charlie together in a pretend romance after their extremely public wedding, while exploring the pressures of celebrity, the risks of an always-on lifestyle, and the double-standards applied to women (especially older women) versus men. Sure, everything is packed in as populist a way as possible, but it’s all still there: placing Kat as empowering leader, capable performer, yet held to far higher standards than her male contemporaries. I think that’s why I like Wilson playing opposite Lopez. For one, the two have solid chemistry and his more mellow aura blends nicely with her vibrancy. For two, Wilson makes Charlie far more sympathetic through his line delivery and physicality. To use the parlance of the day, Charlie isn’t a simp for Kat, he genuinely wants her to be ok as a person, then, upon falling for her, wants what she wants for her as an individual. His pushing her away as the story hits the third act, though expected, comes more from his own insecurity and discomfort in her space, recognizing something missing in himself, than out of recognizing something he sees as a failing of hers. Perhaps that’s why seeing Kat doing the typical rom-com “run for their lover” scene sequence is so damned charming and funny, because it comes from her own realization of what she wants versus being pressured into it. Kat is always her own person throughout the film. There’s not a moment where she acquiesces unless for something she believes is valuable. How incredible is that to see?
One other thing that the character of Kat has going for her is that, in being played by Lopez, the audience almost immediately comes to understand the character as there are plenty of us watching Marry Me who knew Lopez from her days as a back-up dancer on In Living Color, before Selena (1997) and before 1999’s On the 6. As such, there’s quite a bit about the characterization of the character as she balances her public and private persona that feels like something we’ve seen before in her own “lived-out-loud” experience. This is discussed a great deal in the production notes for the film, but general audiences aren’t exactly going to delve into that material. Instead, the bonus features do it through a mix of five featurettes which drill into different aspects of the production, starting in a broader view with “Jennifer Unveiled” before going as specific to the film as “Live at Madison Square Garden” which covers the making of the duet number between Kat and former fiancée Bastian (Maluma) that comes late into the film (spoiler: they filmed it as a surprise during one of his concerts). In over 30 minutes, home release viewers don’t just get the usual discussion of the making of the film, we get invited backstage “Behind the Music” style to talk about the development of the film (seven+ years), how Kat compares/contrasts to Lopez, the music, the casting, the style — everything is explored and nothing is left out.
For fans of the music, I’m sad to say that there’s only one music video (for the fantastic “On My Way”) and the rest of the bonus features are a brief gag reel and eight deleted scenes whose cutting makes sense. While I personally would’ve like more about the music itself (a real highlight to the film), what we get at least respects the filmmaking process so there’s never a feeling that what we get is just tacked on.
Going into Marry Me, I felt I knew what to expect and the film largely delivers. With the exception of an undercooked storyline with Charlie’s daughter, Lou, played by Chloe Coleman (Gunpowder Milkshake), that should’ve been given more prominence, and a few weird directorial choices (what’s with the fisheye lens?), you get exactly what you should from Marry Me: a collection of actors just being damned charming. More of this, please and thank you.
Marry Me Special Features:
- Feature Commentary – With director Kat Coiro and producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas (1:52:06)
- Jennifer Unveiled – Using raw, of-the-moment, b-roll shot on set throughout production, this piece will give audiences unprecedented access behind the scenes, showcasing close-up, intimate footage of Jennifer Lopez – actress and producer. (11:50)
- Behind The Camera: The Making of Marry Me – Glitz, glamor, romance and music. Go behind the scenes in this making-of, for an up-close look at how powerhouse performer Jennifer Lopez and all-star director Kat Coiro are teaming up to put the swoon back on the big screen. (5:29)
- Turn It Up: The Music of Marry Me – Go inside the process with both J.Lo and Maluma as we discover what they wanted these songs to achieve, the stories and meanings behind them, and how they collaborated though countries apart. (5:54)
- Live At Madison Square Garden – To create a fictional, epic, on-stage moment between Kat Valdez and Bastian, the production of Marry Me pulled off a REAL epic on stage moment between Jennifer Lopez and Maluma. Surprising a massive real-world audience of Maluma’s at Madison Square Garden, Jennifer Lopez joined him on stage for one of the film’s most powerful numbers. As we head backstage, we’ll not only reveal how they pulled off such an exciting surprise, we’ll also get an up-close look at international pop star Maluma. (4:43)
- Married With Style – Complete with eye-catching musical numbers, the nuptials of Kat and Bastian was meant to bring the house down IN STYLE! Now, visit Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City as the team behind this magical moment that could have been, breaks it down for us. (5:05)
- “On My Way” Lyric Video (3:10)
- Gag Reel (1:46)
- Eight (8) Deleted Scenes (6:04)
- It’s Coming Together (0:19)
- Plotting the Future (0:56)
- Is Everyone Happy? (0:36)
- Come to the Concert (0:57)
- What Am I Doing Here? (1:09)
- You’re Married! (1:07)
- Having Fun at the Dance (0:30)
- Flight Status (0:29)
Available for streaming on Peacock February 11th, 2022.
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital March 29th, 2022.
For more information, head to the official Marry Me website.