Nov 29, 2022
Freely inspired by Bobby Crosby's online comic, Marry Me is directed by Kat Coiro and stars ‒here comes the relevant part‒ Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, and Sarah Silverman. The film transmits a way of seeing reality as old as cinema itself. What's more, this romantic comedy follows a square and bevel scheme with two angles: unexpected love and the hope of finding it despite all the signs to the contrary.
The film puts so much effort into dialogue with its thousand referents that one, watching the trailer, already guesses more or less everything (I repeat, everything) that is going to happen. And yet, Marry Me welcomes us with good feelings and with this final message: even if love fails time and time again, trying again is still a great idea.
Let no one expect a deep experience. Of course, the tape defends old values (authenticity, effort, trust, family) and also gives a couple of turns to the media exposure of the stars. But he does it lightly, with no other effort than to entertain, and incidentally, enhance the musical image of Jennifer López and Maluma.
In other words, Marry Me is not a product that can be criticized with a frown. This is commercial cinema and its aura of closeness is well-calculated.
As much as a preachy and bossy critic considers it predictable, recycled, or inconsequential, the film's target audience knows what they are looking for and what they want to find on screen.
And while everything I've outlined so far points toward a collection of clichés, this fairy tale about a queen of pop (Lopez) and a quiet math teacher (Wilson) packs some interesting insights. For example, that of a marriage that is decided by chance, in a fit, to the good of God.
In everything else, especially with regard to those two lovers who belong to opposite worlds, Coiro seems to have in mind the strong points of Notting Hill (1999), by Roger Michell.
Slightly and self-consciously cheesy, Marry Me eschews any soul abrasion and focuses all its attention on the J-Lo/Owen Wilson couple. It doesn't leave a mark nor does it pretend to, but who said that all movies have to be an epiphany?
Set to original songs by Jennifer Lopez and global Latin music phenomenon Maluma, Marry Me tells the story of music superstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), two complete strangers who decide, first, to get married and then, little by little, to meet In a world dominated by clicks, visits and the number of followers, this unexpected romance between two radically different people in search of real emotions tells a modern love story about the fame, marriage, and social media.
Kat Valdez and Bastian, the musical revelation of the moment (played by Maluma in his film debut), make up the sexiest and most influential couple in the world. With their irresistible single Marry Me topping the charts, they are about to get married in front of their fans in a concert that will be broadcast around the world on multiple platforms.
Charlie Gilbert, divorced and a math teacher, ends up attending the event dragged by his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman, from the HBO series Big Little Lies) and her best friend (Sarah Silverman, from the Hulu series I Love You, America). . When, seconds before the ceremony, Kat finds out that Bastian has cheated on her with his own assistant, suddenly her whole life turns upside down and collapses right on stage, questioning love, truth, and fidelity. As her fragile world falls apart, her gaze meets that of a stranger, a face from the public.
If the known can disappoint like this, perhaps the unknown will be the answer... And, in a moment of madness, Kat decides to marry Charlie. What begins as an impulsive reaction, begins to transform into an unexpected romance. And before the different forces conspire to separate them, the universal question arises: can two people from such different worlds bridge the distance that separates them and creates a common place where they both belong?
Also notable in the cast is John Bradley (Game of Thrones) as Kat's manager, Colin, and comedian Michelle Buteau (Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia) as Kat's assistant, Melissa.
When producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas first heard the idea for Marry Me seven years ago, she immediately saw its potential as a fresh novel romance relevant to modern times: a sort of 21st-century Roman Holiday mixed with Notting Hill. "I thought it was quite an event, as well as a movie that I would like to go see," says Goldsmith-Thomas. And, having worked with Jennifer Lopez for years, beginning with the 2002 film It Happened in Manhattan, Goldsmith-Thomas saw an opportunity to allow audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the world and the machinery and reality of modern fame. “I was interested in making a movie about a modern-day celebrity to juxtapose someone who the public sees as a celebrity with her real person,” says Goldsmith-Thomas. "Teaming up with one of the most famous people in the world and getting to know her in a different way than how others see her is an honor and, at times, frustrating," he says, referring to those times when Lopez is mischaracterized, misrepresented or misunderstood. "To me, Jennifer is a person who likes to sit in her tracksuit and watch movies eating popcorn," says Goldsmith-Thomas. "For this reason, this film allows the public to discover the human dimension behind the public image. It was an irresistible opportunity."
Jennifer Lopez immediately connected with Kat and with the themes of the film on different levels. “I totally understand that kind of life,” Lopez says. “The film literally goes beyond the veil of what it means to be a star. It's also the first time I've been able to record an album with a film, which was a dream I had. It's the first time I've done a movie with music since Selena, and in that movie, they used Selena's voice, so I couldn't sing." In addition, Lopez was frankly impressed by the depth of the script by John Rogers, Tami Sagher, and Harper Dill. «There is nothing filler in the film; everything has a purpose and is loaded with humor,” says López. "It's a musical movie, so we've put together the romantic comedies, which fascinate me, with my songs and my dances, and we've combined it all for the first time. It's been exciting for all of us."
The film allowed Lopez to re-team with his friend Owen Wilson, whom he first met on the set of Anaconda in 1997.
For the role of Bastian, the filmmakers knew they needed a talented actor and performer who could match Lopez in terms of singing skills and stage presence. Maluma was the obvious choice. A global superstar in his own right, this Colombian has been able to bring more authenticity to the story by offering valuable input to the character. "Maluma helped us a lot to document ourselves," says director Kat Coiro. “He is always surrounded by a large following, and I told him that we had to make Bastian have a similar following. When Bastian walks anywhere, he walks with many other people. We've managed to bring authenticity to the story by incorporating some of the real-life situations our actors experience in their day-to-day lives."
"What this film tells about social networks is complex," says Maluma. “Social media can be amazing. They have helped me a lot to develop my career and my music. But you have to know how to keep your balance. You have a lot of power in your hands and you have to know how to set an example. There are many people who follow you, who want to be like you, and for whom you may be the greatest inspiration. As celebrities, we have to set a good example for all the kids who are watching us and trying to make it too."
López was struck by Maluma's work ethic and humility. "Working with Maluma has been a pleasure," says López. "In my first scene with him, I told Kat that he had a lot of natural talent. He totally understood what his role was and we had a blast. He had that necessary charisma to represent that he is a musical artist who knows how to move on stage and for whom the fans go crazy. But, with everything, it was not always easy for Maluma to interpret someone who was unfaithful to his partner by the system. "Maluma hates that facet of Bastian," says López. «He told us: “It couldn't be like that. I'm not like him." I told him that we were all fully aware of it, but that we were blown away by how well he played the part."
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