Sunday, February 13, 2022

Marry Me

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Pop power couple Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) have capitalized so much on their joint fame and social media clout that even their very wedding is incorporated as the finale of the final show of her concert. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until a viral video of him hooking up with her personal assistant makes the rounds on the internet minutes before they sing their marriage vows. In a snap decision meant as a publicity stunt for damage control, she does the unthinkable. In the audience is Math teacher and reluctant single dad Charlie (Owen Wilson) playing chaperone to his daughter while inadvertently holding up a Marry Me placard, which happens to be Kat and Bastian’s theme song. She says why not, and the two get married on the spot, much to the bewilderment of her fans blowing up the internet with speculations and harsh judgments. Can love blossom between two people from so different worlds?

Hands down, Jennifer Lopez’s most challenging role to date. She is so convincing in portraying a pop superstar with a complicated love life that I had to reevaluate my life and ruminate on the possibility that perhaps my whole existence has been one big lie and the reason why J.Lo is so believable as a pop superstar with a complicated love life is maybe because she might actually be a pop superstar with a complicated love life in real life, and I’m just not aware of it. I sincerely believe that for this role she should win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Pulitzer, a Nobel Peace Prize, an Olym—WAIT. WHAT. DAFUQ?

Yes, to satisfy your curiosity if you have not seen the film yet, Jennifer Lopez basically plays herself and tries to distance it from the fact by changing the name of the character to Kat Valdez, pretty much like how Russia has been banned from the Olympics because of serial doping but continues to compete anyway under the name Russian Olympic Committee. Seeing that J.Lo is credited as one of the movie’s producers, you are almost tempted to ask, why did she decide to do this project and tackle such a role?

The easy answer to that question is because it is an easy task to accomplish, but after watching the movie and how it tends to go meta at times as if referencing Lopez’s own career trajectory as a crossover movie star that Hollywood just won’t fully embrace, you end up thinking that perhaps she did this film as a creative middle finger to an industry that does not seem to be so supportive of her as an actress. I mean, it’s not as if she hasn’t tried to step up and take on Oscar bait roles. Remember Hustlers? Still, no love.

When Kat rants about her glamorous but rather unsatisfying career to Wilson’s Charlie, she has a line complaining without any sugarcoating about how she hasn’t even been nominated yet for anything, at which point the delineation between Kat Valdez and J.Lo seems to blur even more. And so, she probably thought what better way to take a jab on Hollywood’s treatment of her than giving them another cinematic offering in the very genre they boxed her in for almost her entire career. Romantic Comedy.

All these observations aside, though, Marry Me is one enjoyable popcorn flick despite being a romantic comedy to the core. Maybe what makes it weird, though, is how the central theme appears to be the not so subtle critique of the romanticized idea of love and relationships that the genre is espousing, despite the film being from the very same genre and ending up operating pretty much like what it seems to be up against, which is selling the very same idea it vocally criticizes early on, only to fall back on the same formula as a way to conclude the narrative.

It’s like some sort of strange rom-com Inception not particularly sure as to what its stand about the genre should really be. Anyway, there are new songs to add on J.Lo’s song list, most of them catchy and with potential. This felt like an attempt to bring back her glory days when she used to reign the Billboard charts and the Box Office at the same time, but it is probably safe to assume that it did not work, because neither film nor any of the songs seem to have made a noticeable dent on the charts they were aiming to top. A for effort, though.

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