A mildly amusing mix of romance, comedy, and action, Shotgun Wedding tells the story of Tom (Josh Duhamel) and Darcy (Jennifer Lopez).
Tom is a washed-up baseball player. Darcy is …. well, I’m not sure if the film ever really made clear what exactly Darcy does for a living. She comes from a wealthy family and she previously worked with the Peace Corps in Bali. After dating for four years, Tom and Darcy are finally getting married. Darcy wanted to have a simple wedding. Tom, however, becomes a groomzilla and plans an elaborate ceremony on a remote island resort. Sure, the island has occasionally been targeted by pirates but the owners of resort assure Tom that it probably won’t happen again.
The night before the wedding is fraught with drama. Darcy’s mother (Sonia Braga) is not happy that her ex-husband (Cheech Marin) has brought his new agey girlfriend (D’Arcy Carden) to the wedding. Tom’s mother (Jennifer Coolidge) insists that Tom and Darcy not sleep together the night before the ceremony. Meanwhile, Tom’s father (Steve Coulter, a genuinely funny actor) wanders about with an old school camcorder, recording everything. Darcy’s sister (Callie Hernandez) hooks up with one of Tom’s friends (Desmin Borges). Finally, Sean Hawkins (Lenny Kravitz) makes a dramatic entrance, even though he wasn’t exactly invited to the wedding. Sean was Darcy’s ex-fiancé, the man that she nearly married before she met Tom. Everyone loves Sean. When morning comes around, Tom and Darcy aren’t even sure they still want to get married.
That’s when the pirates show up.
Because Tom and Darcy were busy arguing, they weren’t present when the pirates took the rest of the wedding party hostage. Now, Tom and Darcy have to make their way through the jungle so that they can defeat the pirates, save the hostages, and work on their relationship problems. Along the way, both Tom and Darcy will discover that they’re capable of doing things that they never would have thought possible, like killing pirates.
Shotgun Wedding feels a bit like a throw back. It’s very easy to imagine Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock (or maybe even Jennifer Lopez) starring in this film in 2003, playing Darcy opposite someone like Ron Livingston, Owen Wilson, or Greg Kinnear. That’s not meant to be a complaint. There’s actually something rather pleasant about the film’s somewhat quaint approach to its story. Much like last year’s Marry Me, it feels like a throw back to a simpler time when everyone was willing to accept that there was no need for ambiguity when it came to portraying gun-toting pirates as being the bad guys.
Unlike Marry Me, in which Owen Wilson was able to hold his own opposite his glamourous co-star, Shotgun Wedding is pretty much dominated by Jennifer Lopez. Josh Duhamel has his moments as the not terribly bright Tom but significantly, those moments almost all occur while Darcy and Tom are separated. Indeed, much as how the studios used to pair Golden Age divas with forgettable leading men, it sometimes feel as if Duhamel was specifically cast because there was no danger of him taking the attention away from the movie’s main star. This is a film that was pretty much designed to show off Jennifer Lopez. With every scene, one can hear the movie whispering, “Isn’t she still funny? Doesn’t she still look good?” Fortunately, Jennifer Lopez is still funny and yes, she does still look good. Even more importantly, she’s more than capable of carrying a film like this and she delivers her lines with just the right amount of comedic exasperation. A running joke about how much she hates her wedding dress pays off in an unexpected way and the scenes in which Darcy confronts her fear of the sight of blood are enjoyably over-the-top. For someone who was once frequently been portrayed as being a diva in the tabloids. Lopez has always had a down-to-Earth screen presence and a talent for physical comedy. At their best, both this film and Jennifer Lopez are enjoyably silly.
Unfortunately, the film itself starts drag after the first hour and the film’s humor starts to wear thin. There’s only so many times you can listen to someone say something stupid while a pirate points a gun in their face before the joke starts to get stale. I still laughed at quite a few of the lines. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amusing film. But it’s not a particularly memorable one. It’s the type of movie that mildly entertains you for 100 minutes and then it quickly leaves your mind afterwards. In many ways, it’s ideal for the streaming era. If you left the house and paid money to sit in a theater and watch the film with a bunch of strangers, you might be more likely to get annoyed at how slight the film is. But, when watched in the safety of your own home, it’s a perfectly pleasant experience.