Shotgun Wedding – Film Review

“’Til death do us part” takes on a whole new meaning in Shotgun Wedding. This action comedy produced for Amazon Prime Video and directed by Jason Moore is the story of a wedding from hell.

After a whirlwind romance couple, Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) are on the eve of tying the knot. Not all is well however, as cold feet have begun to set in. The private island location in the Philippines, although obtained at a discount, was difficult to get to. Darcy’s divorced parents Robert (Cheech Marin) and Renata (Sonia Braga) are at each other’s throats. While Tom’s well-meaning but overbearing parents Carol (Jennifer Coolridge) and Larry (Steve Coulter) make their presence known. To top it off, Darcy’s handsome ex-fiance, Sean (Lenny Kravitz) is here to make things even more awkward.

As the pair are both ready to say, “I Don’t!”, the unthinkable happens. The entire wedding guest list are taken hostage by armed pirates! That is with the exception of the bride and groom who manage to slip away, and the duo must rescue their family and friends while remembering why they fell in love in the first place.

‘Die Hard at a Wedding’ is a variation of the Hollywood trend I must admit I never expected to see. For some, this may be seen as scraping the bottom of the barrel as another throwaway film for a streaming service. I do have a bit of a soft spot for these types of romantic comedies, however. They don’t reinvent the wheel but there is an audience out there for them, as Jennifer Lopez’s film career proves. I’ve lost count of the number of rom-com chick flicks she has done over the years.

But all the slack I can give the film only goes so far. Characters and story are weak with little attempt to truly show us a believable relationship. Lopez and Duhamel are both entertaining in their roles individually but share little in the way of chemistry. 

Lopez is stunningly beautiful and shines all the brighter in a role which allows her to play up to her manic best. Duhamel on the other hand only really serves as her ‘plus one’. He isn’t bad and tries his best but it’s clear he’s just filling a role left vacant by the various actors (from Ryan Reynolds to Armie Hammer) who had pulled out of the project.

Coolridge stands out for such a small part and the filmmakers know it. The recent Emmy award-winning actress carries much of the film herself with her own trademark bubbly personality. I was most pleasantly surprised by the performance of Lenny Kravitz. Although not a stranger to the screen, he’s still no professional actor but was able to bring an unexpected goofy charm which grew on me as the film went on.

These are the film’s strong suits and it is at its best when it tickles our funny bone enough to forgive its faults. Sadly, often the humour is well and truly wrung out of a scene before it is done. What remains are characters you don’t really care for that yelling at each other over things you also don’t care about.

Special mention must go to the film’s romantic island setting which is amazingly shot by cinematographer Peter Deming. While set in the Philippines, the film was actually shot on location in the beautiful islands of the Dominican Republic. Much like with 2022’s similarly themed ‘The Lost City’, this location provides a stunning backdrop for an action-adventure comedy. It’s just a pity that Shotgun Wedding doesn’t also have a witty script to go along with it.

Shotgun Wedding is a forgettable rom-com which can make for an entertaining night in if you cut it enough slack. However, it is strengthened more by a cast of funny people than a funny script. While JLo has made worse movies than this in the past, she has also made many better ones. With the director of Pitch Perfect attached, this film had the potential to be much better than it turned out to be.

Shotgun Wedding is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

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