SHOTGUN WEDDING review by Mark Walters – Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel get their wedding crashed

SHOTGUN WEDDING review by Mark Walters – Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel get their wedding crashed

Jennifer Lopez is certainly no stranger to romantic comedies, including ones specifically about weddings or getting married. The new film SHOTGUN WEDDING almost feels like a parody of romantic comedies more than an actual attempt at the genre… and maybe that’s a good thing, as most romantic comedies these days have become a bit too formulaic or just plain uninspired.

Darcy Rivera (Lopez) and Tom Fowler (Josh Duhamel) are prepping for a wedding on the beach in the Philippines. Their respective families are attending, including Darcy’s divorced father Robert (Cheech Marin) and mother Renata (Sonia Braga), and her sister Jamie (Callie Hernandez), along with Tom’s father Larry (Steve Coulter) and flamboyant mother Carol (Jennifer Coolidge). Also showing up are Robert’s new and rather annoying girlfriend Harriet (D’Arcy Carden) and Darcy’s recent ex-boyfriend Sean Hawkins (Lenny Kravitz) who still seems pretty obsessed with her. As the ceremony is about the start, Tom and Darcy find themselves arguing in private, and actually deciding NOT to go through with the wedding. Meanwhile, back at the beach, pirates show up and take all of the attendees hostage, forcing them to congregate in the swimming pool while they look for the bride and groom. As Darcy and Tom realize what’s happening, they now must begrudgingly work together to not only survive, but hopefully find a way to save their families… and perhaps rekindle their love for each other in the process.

One of the strangest aspects of this film is the frequently shifting tone, which at times is very broad comedy, and at other times ultra serious and kind of dark. I was also surprised to find out the movie was rated R, as in many ways it feels like a sanitized PG-13 version of an R-rated film. Even the most extreme elements of violence are played sort of cartoony and done for laughs. I don’t even remember that much cussing, so I have to wonder if this was either a PG-13 movie that got an R rating anyway, or an R-rated movie they tried to trim for a PG-13 rating and just couldn’t get it.

All of the actors appear to be having fun, and the ensemble cast does makes the most of the material. But with a few elaborate exceptions, the scope of the production feels more like a TV movie than a big budget Hollywood movie. Oddly Jennifer Lopez is the one cast member who seems a bit out of place here, playing her leading role a bit awkwardly, and never quite selling the comedy bits. It may be that I just don’t care for her in these types of roles, as I remember the more daring performances she’s done through the years, like OUT OF SIGHT, or THE CELL, and even the unexpectedly strong performance in HUSTLERS. In a movie like this she just feels more interchangeable and wasted, like you could have dropped any number of actresses in the same role and it would have been the same result. Josh Duhamel fares a little better, but not by much, as both leading characters are a bit too underwritten. They needed an opening montage that introduced these characters better and gave some back story, as we never get much sense of who they are or why they’re together. It’s the supporting cast that shines best, perhaps because most of them are used sparingly. And it’s fun seeing Lenny Kravitz here, I actually think he might be a welcome face in more movies after seeing his big screen charm in this one.

SHOTGUN WEDDING isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s a pretty disposable comedy, predictable and silly with some very weird elements. The motivation of the bad guys feels a bit contrived upon reveal, and there never seems to be any real sense of danger. The threat, as it were, is always comedic and light enough to not make the film very engaging. I suppose if the bad guys actually took out a few memorable wedding guests, it might have felt more exciting. And that may be one of the biggest problems with this movie, it just plays it all too safe. I feel like there’s a better movie in here somewhere, but sadly we just didn’t get it.

SHOTGUN WEDDING streams on Amazon Prime Video on January 27, 2023

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.