Despite being relatively predictable, Shotgun Wedding was a wild adventure with a fantastic cast. Of course, the major highlight was recent Golden Globe winner Jennifer Coolidge, but Jennifer Lopez also shined as a comedic heroine.
Originally splashed with controversy, as Ryan Reynolds stepped down from the leading male role and was replaced by Armie Hammer, only for a cannibalistic scandal to arise after his private messages went viral all over the internet, leaving Josh Duhamel to then take the role. Despite these salacious headlines, the movie has persevered and will release to Prime Video on January 27th.
At the destination wedding of Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel), things go awry when a skilled team of pirates crash the party and take guests hostage. Although the mercenaries there to blackmail Darcy’s father aren’t the only problem on the island, it seems Darcy and Tom’s relationship has hit some snags in the lead-up to their wedding.
Not only that, but the soon-to-be in-laws don’t exactly get along, either. Darcy’s parents, Renata (Sonia Braga) and Robert (Cheech Marin) are on bad terms due to their divorce and Robert’s much younger girlfriend, Harriet (D’Arcy Carden). While they also dislike Tom’s humble and quirky parents, Carol (Jennifer Coolidge) and Larry (Steve Coulter), who’ve never left the US. These boomers and their interactions are half the fun in this action-adventure rom-com.
I found Shotgun Wedding genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. Jennifer Coolidge is sensational; she’s her usual genre of character but at times also dialed back with even better humorous pay-off. Their chemistry and implied history were felt and great to watch. Combined with Steve Coulter, the two make for the perfect mid-west proud parents.
Sonia Braga and Cheech Marin were an interesting dynamic, with D’Arcy Carden in the mix. Sonia Braga was the sulking, petty ex-wife still in love. Cheech Marin, the successful father revitalised by his younger girlfriend and secretly reveling in his ex-wife’s envy. It wasn’t unfortunate or cringe to watch the two interact. It simply was. Then D’Arcy Carden has this way about her; she can be so sickly sweet while subtly scheming. Congratulations to Casting Director Deanna Brigidi, who nailed it.
However, the arrival of Lenny Kravitz, who plays Jennifer Lopez’s ex and her father’s business partner, shocked me. I did not properly prepare for his involvement in this movie. One minute everyone is hanging out at the rehearsal dinner/cocktail hour, and the next, Lenny Kravitz is walking out of a helicopter looking all sexy and rock n roll. I was shook-eth to my buttery core.
The chemistry between JLo and Josh was cute and fun to see. They clicked and bickered and cracked jokes. Compared to what it could have been, Josh’s subtle comedy was superior, and I preferred it this way. Josh wasn’t snarky or sarcastic, he was genuine, and it showed. The characterization of Tom as a softy sweetheart in the middle of a midlife crisis accidentally sending all their loved ones into a crisis was… forgivable compared to what Reynolds may have delivered. I also think people forget that JLo has always been a comedic queen. She’s super funny in Maid in Manhattan and the Wedding Planner. She may (rumored) lip-sync, but she can deliver a one-liner with impeccable timing.
The twists were predictable. From the get-go, it was easy to see how they characterized Lenny Kravitz and D’Arcy Carden as the villains and masterminds behind the pirates. How Tom found out could have been better contrived, and the payoff was a little messy, but I still enjoyed the ride. In everything, Lenny Kravitz ends up just being Lenny Kravitz, and across from the brilliant D’Arcy Carden, his performance was lacking to the point of even dragging down some of Carden’s potential in this role. However, I think the flaky texture of Kravitz’s performance worked with the grain of the character, and D’Arcy Carden’s drive took over as the mastermind, which paid off.
I’m a little confused as to why Shotgun Wedding is rated R; it was pretty light, in my opinion. Perhaps for the violence, but I don’t think it was any worse than the average action film. The comedy wasn’t outrageous into the raunchy territory, and there certainly wasn’t any sex.
Shotgun Wedding is an excellent example of a middle-ground action comedy that has been missing recently amidst all the blockbuster action films. It reminds me of The Lost City with Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and Daniel Radcliffe, which came out last year. It’s a good adaptation of rom-com tropes and bending them to the action-comedy mold. I also admired that it’s under 2 hours. NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE AN 3-HOUR EPIC!! And the happy ending was cute.
Overall, it’s a decent film with great comedic performances in a mildly entertaining plot.