Movie Review: J Lo and Josh face-off, and face pirates in a “Shotgun Wedding”

Wow. SO dumb.

Who wants to see Jennifer Lopez get married? Again? In a “Shotgun Wedding,” no less?

Kind of tasteless, too, right? I mean, who thinks a tropical wedding party taken hostage at a Filipino resort is promising fodder for comedy? Maybe my memory’s too long. At least they aren’t terrorists. Terrorists with bombs.

But watch the stars’ eyes, the exertion, how Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel throw themselves at this action rom-com nonsense. The running, the brawling, the shooting, the ziplining (with stunt assistance, no doubt), the motor-boating — get your MIND outta the gutter — almost make us buy in because THEY buy in.

Whatever our maybe-they-will/maybe-they-want couple decide on their nuptials, which seem on the rocks before the first grenade of “Shotgun” comes out, these two COMMIT to this comedy and put on a show for the folks. And they set the tone for the rest of the cast that gives this slicky, junky movie a shot.

Golden Globes MILF and “White Lotus” viper Jennifer Coolidge leading a wedding reception sing-along of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be?” Lopez, playing a lawyer who faints at the sight of blood in a “comedy” with more than a little blood in it? Screaming at a pirate that her fiance has just killed, “Sir, SIR! Are you DEAD?”

Yeah, it’s dopey, but fun enough you’ll want to stay with it through the credits.

Lopez is perfectly-put-together Darcy, about to marry never-quite-a-big-league baseballer Tom in a resort wedding done on a budget, with Tom doing the table settings himself and Darcy forced to wear Tom’s pushy mom’s (Coolidge) “lucky dress.” It’s a “big wedding” she didn’t want but he railroaded her into.

Her mother (screen legend Sonia Braga) is sniping about everything, including the presence of Darcy’s ran-off-with-the-yoga-instructor father (Cheech Marin). Dad was gauche enough to insist they invite Darcy’s dashing Peace Corps-era beau, Sean (Lenny Kravitz).

“He looks like he’s leading a PORN safari!” Darcy’s sister (Callie Hernandez) gushes.

It’s no wonder the couple-to-be is at loggerheads right before the ceremony. Perfect time for pirates dressed like road warriors to pull up in a commandeered dive boat and take everybody — except the bride and groom — hostage.

The leads set a good example for everybody else on set by going for broke in scene after scene, hurtling into the action beats, mugging and shouting through their fights and generally making everything BIG, because that’s what you do when you know the script isn’t quite there. Or just plain crap.

All the romances, action romances and rom-coms Lopez has made, and you can see “Where has THIS guy been my whole career?” in her face and her antic actions with Duhamel.

Sure, God help this screenplay and this…premise.

But Lopez and Duhamel — who has done his damnedest to create onscreen chemistry with the likes of Julianne Hough, Elisha Cuthbert, Megan Fox and (shudder) Katherine Heigl — click and almost will this into being more fun than it should be.

Rating: R (Language|Some Violence/Bloody Images)

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge, Cheech Marin, Sonia Braga and Lenny Kravitz.

Credits: Directed by Jason Moore, scripted by Mark Hammer. A Lionsgate release on Amazon Prime.

Running time: 1:44

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

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