The Spool / Movies
Jennifer Lopez proves there’s nothing she can’t do in Shotgun Wedding
J.Lo & Josh Duhamel star in an enjoyably silly action-comedy about a wedding that goes off the rails.
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J.Lo & Josh Duhamel star in Shotgun Wedding, an enjoyably silly action-comedy about a blessed day that goes off the rails.

The market for romantic comedies surrounding weddings is right up Jennifer Lopez‘s avenue. Last year it was Marry Me. Before that, it was The Wedding Planner. But whether she was piercing hearts with her eyes in Out of Sight, or turning up the heat with her performance in Hustlers, Lopez continues to surprise us with her versatility. Shotgun Wedding is more com than rom, allowing Lopez to exercise her killer comedic timing, along with an all-star cast present for a destination wedding that goes sideways.

The long-engaged Darcy (Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) travel to the Philippines along with their families to get married. With every marriage comes baggage, and in Shotgun Wedding it exists in the random cast of actors. Cheech Marin and legendary Brazilian actor Sonia Braga play Lopez’s divorced parents, while Jennifer Coolidge and Steve Coulter are Duhamel’s folks. The other guests include Lenny Kravitz as a bitter ex-husband, Callie Hernandez as Lopez’s ditzy sister, and D’Arcy Carden as Marin’s new girlfriend. The cast is random, but the result is delightful as we see the unpredictable pan out.

Directed by Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) and written by Mark Hammer, the tone shifts to the outrageous when a group of pirates holds the wedding guests hostage, and plans to kill them one by one unless funds are transferred to an account. They didn’t plan for Darcy and Tom to be separated from the group. Handcuffed together, the couple takes out various henchmen one-by-one in a variety of ridiculous ways, fighting to save themselves — and their marriage — in the process. It’s here that Lopez and Duhamel’s off-kilter chemistry really works. There’s not an animal magnetism between the two, but rather a stand-off tone, as the couple discovers precisely who they were really going to marry.

Shotgun Wedding
Jennifer Lopez & Josh Duhamel in Shotgun Wedding (Amazon Prime)

To describe Shotgun Wedding as harmless might be minimizing it, but it fits. It’s also the J.Lo Show, and she’s a confident and fearless star. She’s unafraid to hang from a zipline. She hilariously passes out during a sight gag involving blood. She can be delightfully pouty, deliver a line about blowing a guy up with a grenade, and turn around with a shotgun in hand like she’s been doing it her whole life. It’s both a fun and impressive turn.

Shotgun Wedding gathers an eclectic cast of guests, wild action scenarios, and enough J.Lo to be a worthy trip down the (movie theater) aisle. The weak points are the predictable plot twists at the end, especially considering the bad guys are kept in masks the entire time, making them lackluster villains. But unlike last year’s The Lost City, there’s not much of a drop off in enjoyment. The narrative bounces between the group of guests being held hostage (particularly Jennifer Coolidge, continuing her hot streak of success) and the charming arch of Darcy and Tom’s love. At the end it’s all about the good laughs (there are plenty) and the versatile charm of its star.

Shotgun Wedding premieres on Amazon Prime January 27th.

Shotgun Wedding Trailer:

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