Marriage — there’s nothing more sacred, beautiful, and timeless, yet nothing drives people crazier than the process of aging together. It is both romantic and ridiculous. Pathetic, hilarious, and strangely moving, Shotgun Wedding is the latest examination of the paradoxes of marriage from Jennifer Lopez, and it’s one of her best.
The star is no stranger to the subject of marriage — she’s tied more knots than a Boy Scout leader and she’s been on the cover of Us magazine more times than we can count because of it. Lopez’s relationships have all been well-documented, so it’s refreshing to see her in a role that plays off that persona, turning a wedding into a mainstream event, as she did in last year’s Marry Me. But it’s not just weddings that are tackled in this Bridesmaids-meets-Die Hard romp. Created with texture and humor, the film also explores how certain couples are able to turn conflict into connection via a stream of communication.
This delightful mix of love and hardship is placed within a preposterous scenario even by rom-com standards. Darcy (Lopez) is ready to say “I Do” when a group of pirates come to her wedding and take everyone hostage. When she realizes what’s happening, she has to convince her soon-to-be husband, Tom (Josh Duhamel), to go full John McLane-mode on the baddies who have taken their guests captive. The only problem is that Tom is no good with a gun (or with anything, really) and he’s not sure about the whole “for better or worse” thing after he meets Darcy’s ex (Lenny Kravitz) and their families start to bicker.
Can these two figure things out while taking on a gang of cartel members? As Tom and Darcy try to save their friends, they grapple with their differences when it comes to planning and when it comes to killing bad guys (should they use a grenade or a flame thrower?). Though the situation is far from realistic, the finely written and swiftly paced Shotgun Wedding remains emotionally grounded, which is crucial to the execution. As directed by Jason Moore, there’s more to this comedy than just jokes about moms (Sonia Braga, Jennifer Coolidge) drinking too much at the reception.
It might be Darcy’s unwavering commitment to making things last that matches best with the film and with J.Lo, who seems to have finally found her “soul mate” in Ben Affleck. That love can shine through, and the promise of a happy ending is the beating heart of this otherwise silly rom-com. There’s only one actress who could have made this work, and only one person who could sell the message that marriage can wade through choppy waters, and that woman is Jennifer Lopez.