- Nate Adams
'Shotgun Wedding' review: Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel galivant through lazy action comedy
Courtesy of Prime Video
Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel are playing soon-to-be newlyweds forced to save the day after their destination wedding is crashed by gun wielding pirates in “Shotgun Wedding.” A formula that’s been tried and tested plenty of times over the last 40 years (couples teaming up to fight bad guys), “Shotgun Wedding” doesn’t break new ground, nor does it deviate enough from what general audiences will expect to make a memorable impression. What does work, however, is the supporting cast, specifically Jennifer Coolidge’s ditzy mother-of-the-groom shtick she practically owns the trademark on. It’s desperately needed considering Lopez and Duhamel have zero chemistry, which makes the latter half of the movie a grueling exercise in tolerance. I find it strange Owen Wilson (yes, Owen Wilson!) had more spark with Lopez in her romantic comedy “Marry Me” last year than with Duhamel here. What a world!
Lopez plays Darcy, a woman who would’ve been fine skipping a big wedding and eloping from her overbearing family, but insecure fiancé Tom (Duhamel), a failing baseball star, wants a massive shindig and convinces his future wife to share nuptials at a luxury Philippine Island. The wedding party includes Tom’s eccentric mother (Coolidge); Darcy’s divorced parents (Cheech Marin and Sonia Braga) and, in an odd inclusion, her muscular, overbearing ex-boyfriend Sean, played with a looking-bored-by-the-minute Lenny Kravitz, who crashes the party and immediately makes the groom uncomfortable.
But moments before Darcy is about to call the whole thing off (a subplot is baked into the movie about her commitment issues), the beachfront ceremony is thrown into chaos when a group of pirates takes everyone hostage for ransom. You’d assume screenwriter Mark Hammer might cook up some interesting gags for Lopez and Duhamel aside from lighting a baddie on fire or slaptick garb like fainting at the sight of blood, but “Shotgun Wedding” doesn’t play into Lopez’ comedic strengths even though you can see elements of her timing trying to break out.
I suppose “Shotgun Wedding” is passively amusing (director Jason Moore mercifully keeps things moving), but everyone aside from Coolidge doesn’t understand the script's obvious satirical roots and she steals the entire movie. The film was shot by prolific cinematographer Peter Deming who brings out the rich textures of the Dominican Republic, where the movie was shot and, at least, makes the movie engaging to look at. Except looks can’t be everything, there needs to be substance underneath and the trivial nature (plus the terrible co-star pairing) of “Shotgun Wedding” keeps this lukewarm romantic comedy from sailing into the sunset.
SHOTGUN WEDDING debuts on Amazon Prime Video Friday Jan 27th.