Marry Me lacks rom-com originality

Most boy-meets-girl rom-coms follow the same basic structure: two people meet, slowly fall in love, have a misunderstanding that forces them apart, and then get back together at the end just in time for the credits. It’s a tried-and-true formula that has been shown to work over and over again, and this uniformity necessitates that new releases in the subgenre have narrative hooks in order to set them apart from their brethren. What if the meeting happened because a famous pop star decides on a whim to marry a random guy in the audience to spite her unfaithful and equally famous betrothed, for instance? This is the hook of Marry Me, a Peacock original that has very few unique things to offer other than its bonkers premise. 

Based on a graphic novel by the same name (yes, really), Marry Me has romance, a small dash of comedy, and very little originality. There’s really not much more to the story than I described already, and the film leans heavily on the aforementioned hook as well as the likeability of its leads, Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, to make up for it. As Lopez plays a pop star (not too much of a stretch), there are a few original songs that pad things out as well, some decent (the ballad she writes for Wilson’s character) and some a bit more irritating (the titular track, which they will not let you forget). The inevitable conflict that breaks up the string of fuzzy falling-in-love scenes also feels a bit manufactured and isn’t super convincing, as if the filmmakers were not only fully aware of the basic boy-meets-girl rom-com structure but were also determined to follow it to the letter. Or maybe they just realized that they were already three-fourths of the way through the film and hadn’t introduced any actual conflict yet. 

I never really laughed out loud during Marry Me, which is a bit disappointing for a romantic comedy, and I can’t for the life of me see what would have attracted either of the stars to the script other than the chance to have a few kissing scenes with Jennifer Lopez or Owen Wilson. To its credit, the script does try really hard to be memorable and profound, constantly requiring Lopez (and occasionally Wilson) to drop what the writers probably thought were insightful one-liners about everything from self-reliance to the benefits of social media, but the juggling of all of these themes leads to a few balls being dropped along the way. 

Marry Me isn’t a bad film. The warm and fuzzy scenes feel warm and fuzzy, the characters are likeable enough (shout-out to Sarah Silverman as the best friend character, who I have not mentioned yet), and any eyerolls are solidly contained to the ludicrous proposal moment early on. It just doesn’t do much of anything special and is easily forgettable as a result. If you need some comfort food in the form of a movie you might as well watch something that fills you up a little longer.  

Marry Me is now available on Peacock.