The immense pressure of weddings tends to expose the worst in people, from the bridezilla to cold feet to tension with the in-laws. Amazon’s “Shotgun Wedding,” released on Jan. 27, does not shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly as Darcy Rivera (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom Fowler’s (Josh Duhamel) dreamy destination wedding goes awry in more ways than one, crafting an entertaining if unexceptional “romantic action-comedy.”
As tensions between a nervous Darcy and groomzilla Tom skyrocket on their wedding day, the couple soon faces higher stakes than expected as pirates infiltrate the private island and hold the entire wedding party hostage. The two must navigate the problems in their relationship as they try to thwart the plot of the murderous pirates that have hijacked their destination wedding — and hopefully keep their guests alive for the impending ceremony.
While some may find the melding of the action genre into a romantic comedy distasteful — it certainly brings a morbid body count into the story — “Shotgun Wedding” manages to make the plot so outlandish and funny that they blend together incredibly. What better way to ring in a wedding than to prove your devotion by murdering a few pirates together along the way? A romantic action-comedy may not be the most orthodox of genre combinations, but it is one that brings a renewed sense of enjoyment.
Lopez and Duhamel do a fine job portraying the dynamic Darcy and Tom; however, the two lack the fiery chemistry viewers would like to see on screen. They are undoubtedly an entertaining duo with their push-and-pull nature, but when it comes down to the romance, the film lacks heart. Lopez and Duhamel succeed in the action-comedy aspect of “Shotgun Wedding,” but for a film so centered on the prospect of marriage and romance, it ultimately falls short. The action stunts and wit of the film end up having to compensate for a profound lack of chemistry between the two romantic leads, which is strange considering the film is meant to culminate in a wedding.
Jennifer Coolidge easily steals the show. Starring as Tom’s mother Carol Fowler, Coolidge’s performance is witty and hilarious the whole way through. Not every actress could pull off hysterically claiming her son and his bride-to-be must have fallen into a ditch when they go missing before the ceremony, pinning the intuition on her sixth sense for these kinds of disasters. With the world going through something akin to a Coolidge Renaissance, “Shotgun Wedding” is yet another film in the actress’s repertoire that showcases her comedic prowess.
Unfortunately, “Shotgun Wedding” isn’t particularly remarkable in any sense. It is a perfectly mindless comedy and will surely hit the spot for someone in dire need of one. But it certainly isn’t becoming an essential watch; it’s the kind of film someone watches once and doesn’t think about again except in passing.
This lack of memorability is, however, cushioned by the fact that the film is ultimately a rom-com, where the cheesiness and unremarkable nature are expected. Rom-coms are about the experience rather than the overarching quality, and “Shotgun Wedding” definitely delivers. The charm of the Lopez rom-com is that it is such a compellingly fun experience as the viewer accompanies Lopez on a comedic journey in the name of love. Combined with impressive action stunts and some shocking reveals, “Shotgun Wedding” makes its almost two-hour runtime lively and fast-paced rather than dragging its feet.
“Shotgun Wedding” doesn’t stand out from the crowd, but what it lacks in brilliance it makes up for with its delightful cast, charming wit and unexpected twists and turns. As the traditional rom-com arguably wanes in popularity, “Shotgun Wedding” may help stir up a reemergence of the beloved genre.