Right from when I watched its trailer a few months ago, I knew what I would get from “Marry Me”, which was released in South Korean theaters in last week. Like another recent romantic comedy film “I Want You Back” (2022) attempts to follow the footsteps of “Addicted to Love” (1997), “Marry Me” tries to emulate what was successful in “Notting Hill” (1999), and it is predictable to the core in terms of plot and characters, but, to my little surprise, it somehow engaged and then entertained me when I watched it at last night.
The story mainly revolves around two contrasting main characters who cannot possibly be more different from each other. While Katarina “Kat” Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) is an extremely popular pop star, Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) is a plain anonymous schoolteacher who is also a divorced man living with his daughter, and the only reason why he goes to Kat’s latest concert is that his daughter happens to be her big fan.
Anyway, the concert has received lots of attention from the public and the media because it is the culmination point for what Kat and her boyfriend singer Bastian (Maluma) have been doing for last several months. Having showed off their passionate romantic relationship as a part of the promotion of their ongoing concert tour, they are going to marry as watched by millions of fans around the world, and Kat really have lots of expectation on that because she sincerely believes Bastian is the one who will always love her for the rest of her life.
However, when her concert is about to reach to its expected climax part, there comes an unexpected moment of disaster. It belatedly turns out that Bastian has been cheating on her for a while, and, to make matters worse, this unpleasant fact has already been reported on an online gossip news. While quite devastated to the degree of nervous breakdown, Kat bravely comes onto the stage as everyone is anxiously watching her, and then she spots Charlie, who happens to be holding a sign saying “Marry Me” as asked by his daughter right at that moment. Without any hesitation, she promptly asks Charlie to marry her, and Charlie accepts her request on the spot because he clearly sees that she needs to be rescued from her humiliating public embarrassment right now.
Once her worst moment is over, it seems that all Charlie and Kat will have to do is quickly having a divorce without much fuss, but Kat decides to be around her accidental husband for a while mainly for recovering from that fiasco as soon as possible. Charlie reluctantly agrees because that looks like a right thing to do for her, but, of course, he soon finds himself overwhelmed as getting lots of public attention along with her. Fortunately, his colleague/best friend Parker Debbs (Sarah Silverman) comes to the rescue as his unofficial manager, and he and Kat can have some private time together for getting to know each other a bit as suggested by Kat.
It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that Kat and Charlie come to like each other more than expected, but the screenplay by John Rogers, Tami Sagher, and Harper Dill, which is actually based on the graphic novel of the same named by Bobby Crosby, generates enough warmth and humor to hold our attention. While Charlie appreciates how Kat makes his and his daughter’s daily life much more exciting than before, Kat comes to learn the pleasure of simple life via Charlie, and she also helps Charlie’s daughter a bit on how to manage her stage fright involved with her upcoming math competition.
Of course, the mood becomes a little more serious during its third act as our two main characters come to have doubts on whether they can actually continue their relationship, but the movie thankfully does not push them into cheap plot contrivance for that. Although we can already see how the story eventually ends, the movie handles its plot formula with some care and thoughtfulness, and it surely earns its predictable but effective finale.
In addition, the movie is supported well by its two likable lead performers. Although her character is more or less than the extension of her public image, Jennifer Lopez is as sexy, beautiful, and charismatic as required during several performance scenes in the film, and her indelible presence makes a good contrast with the down-to-earth qualities of her co-star. As humbly standing by his co-star, Owen Wilson ably embodies his character’s warm decency, and he and Lopez’s good chemistry on the screen is the main reason why the movie can often hop over its genre clichés and conventions.
In case of several supporting performers in the film, they bring a substantial amount of personality to the movie while diligently revolving around Lopez and Wilson. While Sarah Silverman and John Bradley are well-cast in their respective supporting roles, Maluma brings some authenticity to his character as another popular pop star in the film, young performer Chloe Coleman holds her own small space well as Charlie’s smart and plucky daughter.
Overall, “Marry Me”, which is directed by Kat Coiro, is surely another your average romantic comedy flick, but it did its job a little better than I thought, and, probably because I happened to go through no less than four dissatisfying films in row before watching it, I decide to be a little more generous to it as giving 3 stars instead of 2.5 stars. To be frank with you, I doubt whether it will be as enduring as “Notting Hill”, but I felt entertained enough, so I will not grumble for now.