Hollywood tends to rehash things – similar stories, sequels, and remakes seem to be the norm. Perhaps there is a generational thing that makes this acceptable. Remakes of stories like television’s Wonder Years or of foreign films like 2016’s A Man Called Ove – from a novel – into Hollywood’s version A Man Called Otto (2022) do present new opportunities for different audiences. Additionally, filmmakers often compete for these viewers by pushing out films about the same subjects in a short time frame – like Capote (Phillip Seymore Hoffman) and Infamous (Toby Jones). Last year’s Lost City (Sandra Bullock) and Ticket to Paradise (Julia Roberts) show a few similarities. This year, Shotgun Wedding, starring Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel, seems like the plots of these two films mashed together. Sadly, the end result lacks the quality and entertainment value the stars deserve. A ridiculous, outlandish (more so than acceptable) plot makes Shotgun Wedding nearly (not quite) unbearable to watch.
Lopez and Duhamel play Darcy and Tom, a beautiful couple whose destination wedding goes terribly wrong. A solid cast, including Cheech Marin, Jennifer Coolidge, Kenny Kravitz, and D’Arcy Carden, makes a few moments engaging and hilarious. Still, the crew of “pirates” who raid the island and disrupt the wedding are comical, bizarrely dressed caricatures of bad guys, and where there should be humor, there is an absurdity. Lopez and Duhamel work it! Were it not for them, the film would be total garbage. The faults in the film have little to do with the core cast and more to do with Mark Hammer’s script and director Jason Moore’s apparent desire to blow things up.
Yes, Shotgun Wedding is meant to be a comedy, but Moore and Hammer fail to offer up a decent balance of action and humor. We often expect to suspend belief with films, which indeed works. Still, instead of being exciting and hilarious here, it’s extremely preposterously over-the-top and wildly absurd. Much like the previous sentence, the movie gets so ridiculous that the fast-forward button seems welcoming.
Unlike the other films mentioned earlier, Shotgun Wedding fails to take a tired and true storyline and make it fresh and interesting. Fortunately, the cast and the few bits of humor they manage can save Shotgun Wedding from being a total waste. There are moments with Lopez especially – a scene where she steps into the shot wearing a ripped-up and very sexy wedding dress, toting a gun, hair blowing behind her – that are hysterical, but the majority is a mess. I am placing two stars at the top for this one.