January 27, 2023 / Prime
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge, Sonia Braga, Cheech Marin, Selena Tan, D'Arcy Carden, Callie Hernandez, Desmin Borges, Steve Coulter, Lenny Kravitz
Directed By: Jason Moore
In Shotgun Wedding, Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) gather their lovable but very opinionated families for the ultimate destination wedding just as the couple begin to get cold feet. And if that wasn’t enough of a threat to the celebration, suddenly everyone’s lives are in danger when the entire party is taken hostage. “’Til Death Do Us Part” takes on a whole new meaning in this hilarious, adrenaline-fueled adventure as Darcy and Tom must save their loved ones—if they don’t kill each other first.
Written By Darren
Rating 3.5 out of 5
Shotgun Wedding is an entertaining and safe action based romantic comedy that comes alive thanks to the lead performances and pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel and a scene stealing Jennifer Coolidge.
The past few years has seen a shortage of romantic comedies, despite excellent entries into the genre like Crazy Rich Asians and Bros. But within the first month of 2023, we are already treated to one romantic comedy with many more to come this year. And kicking off the year is a fan favourite star from the 2000s era romantic comedy: Jennifer Lopez. Lopez returns to the genre after last year’s Marry Me, instantly reminding audiences why we love her in a romantic comedy.
Darcy (Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) are about to tie the knot in a destination wedding, dealing with Darcy’s divorced parents fighting and her father’s young, new girlfriend, as well as Tom’s over-sharing mother Carol. It’s your typical wedding, until the resort it is happening at is overrun by pirates. With the entire resort staff and all of the guests taken hostage, Darcy and Tom must not only save their family and friends from the pirates, but as well as reignite their love if they ever want to make it down the aisle.
From Jason Moore, the director of Pitch Perfect, and writer Mark Hammer, Shotgun Wedding is your standard romantic comedy. Filmmakers know exactly what audiences want from this genre, and while some filmmakers give the audience exactly what they want while adding something new to the mix, Moore and Hammer stick to the basics. And there is nothing wrong with that. We have the comedic relief side character (a pitch perfect Jennifer Coolidge), a charming couple bickering and reconnecting, and the stereotypical ex-partner who shows up and causes tension within the main couple’s relationship. There are no surprises in the story, as the writers follow the romantic comedy blueprint to a tee, but it's just pure fun from start to finish that it is easy to forgive it for its simplicity. Plus, aside from last year’s The Lost City, we haven’t had a good action based romantic comedy since 2012’s This Means War, allowing Shotgun Wedding to fill a void in the genre.
The screenplay has some truly funny moments that will have you bursting out in laughter, as well as many moments that fall flat. While the jokes that don’t land could derail the movie, the cast is just delightful and injects an infectious energy into the film that makes you forget about the jokes that don’t work. Lopez and Duhamel are great in the lead roles, with a good romantic chemistry between them. But it is their comedic banter and chemistry that shines and brings the film to life, instantly making the audience fall in love with them as a couple. Duhamel plays off Lopez’s chaotic energy perfectly as the dashing male lead, while Lopez is a spit fire as her character unleashes her frustrations around her wedding on the unexpecting pirates. While Duhamel was not originally meant for the role, watching the film I cannot see anyone else but him in the role, continuing his string of solid performances in recent years.
Supporting Lopez and Duhamel is a strong supporting cast. Some of the supporting cast members are used perfectly, like Sonia Braga as Lopez’s mother or Cheech Marin as Lopez’s father who both have standout comedic moments. Lenny Kravitz is hamming it up as Lopez’s ex-fiancé, and is the perfect amount of over the top in his performance. At the same time, the film fails to utilize Callie Hernandez and Desmin Borges to their full potential, putting their comedic subplot to the background for the most part, or even tapping into the comedic brilliance of D’Arcy Carden until the film’s third act. But it is Jennifer Coolidge who steals the show as Duhamel’s mother Carol. Ever since seeing Legally Blonde and American Pie as a young child, I have loved Coolidge and it is nice to see her being received as the star she has always been. She consistently steals the spotlight as Carol with a silly one liner that will have you bursting into laughter, and then dying when she gets in on the action in the film’s most memorable moment! If it wasn’t obvious after her incredible work on The White Lotus, Coolidge is truly a national treasure that is having her moment right now.
While it's certain to leave some viewers underwhelmed because it does not offer anything new to the genre unlike recent romantic comedies we have been treated to, Shotgun Wedding is pure fun. Full of action and laugh out loud moments thanks largely to the brilliant pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel who light up the screen with their chemistry, and Jennifer Coolidge who continues to be a queen with another excellent comedic performance, Shotgun Wedding is an enjoyable romantic comedy that is sure to please fans of the genre.