Nowadays, the silver screen is flooded with profanity and unnecessary nudity to attract more viewers or teenagers. It appears to be fun and more entertaining when the language used is coarse and disrespectful. Therefore, when we watch a film that uses none of those trends to bring in a wider audience, it is refreshing and shocking at the same time. Maybe it’s because of the cast of the film, writer or directors. But whoever chooses an appealing concept will always have my respect.
“Marry Me” is a modern rom-com that unfolds around superstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez), who is about to get married right on stage with the love of her life. However, the man, her singing partner and fiancé, appears to cheat on her and a video of him with her assistant resurfaces right when she was about to get ready for the wedding ceremony. Angry, desperate and upset, the woman, with tears coming down, accepts an offer from a man (Owen Wilson) with the sign saying ‘Marry Me.’
Based on Bobby Crosby’s graphic novel and screenplay by Harper Dill and John Rogers and directed by Kat Coiro, “Marry Me” is a surprisingly crowd-pleasing and extremely moving romantic comedy. Despite its predictable concept, it works so well that you begin to believe in the leap of faith. Owen Wilson’s Charlie Gilbert is a divorcee and a math teacher. He has a good reputation, is a likeable and honest person. At least that’s how he is being presented to us. And quite frankly, we never doubt his good intentions or being a true gentleman. Kat, on the other hand, is all over the place. She is smart and talented but her life is always on full display. She realizes that making an impulsive decision can hurt her or make her look crazy. But she decides to drag the marriage with the man she does not know, just to see if it will work.
Her manager even drafts an N.D.A. and pre-nup. But remember, we are dealing with someone like Charlie Gilbert, who never intends to lie or cheat on his new wife, even though he realizes it is more of a transaction on her end. Furthermore, he agrees to be by her side, attend press conferences and play his part. And while the two engage in publicity, they grow towards each other as they begin to develop mutual feelings that surely escalate to the level when they realize they fell in love with each other. But the entire problem is Kat and Charlie are from two different worlds. She can’t live his life and he can’t hers. They both have commitments. And those commitments have nothing to do with what they do on a daily basis. Even though you may realize eventually, it will work, of course. But the fact how it’s shot and presented to the audience never feels forced or dull. It is just so cute, you barely can handle it.
What works about “Marry Me” is Jennifer Lopez portraying a confident woman who is not afraid to make a sudden move and stick to it. She says at some point, “I don’t want to be a punch line.” And she is not. She realizes her move and how it may impact the stranger who just became her husband. But she knows if she tries harder, perhaps there might be a spark. And if there is one, then there’s a chance that perhaps this time her marriage may work. The film tries to explore the power of love not through the long-standing relationship that gives two people opportunity to learn about each other more. It rather unites two complete strangers and helps them to learn along the way.
Indeed, it sounds like an old-fashioned way, but it works and works perfectly well. As for the Lopez-Wilson duo, it’s just what we needed to see on the bigger screen. Two mature actors that are doing their job – telling a beautiful love story without getting too much into unnecessary and forced scenes that would have killed the film before it hit the big screens. Thankfully, it never happened. Because the storytelling is not about targeting a certain audience to get more money, but to focus on characters, on their life on screen and what may happen to them after the film is over. And we do need more films like “Marry Me” that cares about the sensitive audience and tells the story in a much more appropriate way than any film done recently.