"Shotgun Wedding" stars Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Sônia Braga, Jennifer Coolidge, Lenny Kravitz, D'Arcy Carden, and Cheech Marin. Released on Prime Video on January 27, 2023, the film has a couple saving their families from a gang of pirates.
The film was directed by Jason Moore, who also directed "Pitch Perfect" and "Sisters". Weddings are usually lovely and emotional ceremonies where two families come together to see their lovebirds tie the knot. However, they can also be pretty stressful regarding the couple feeling anxious to move on to the next step of their relationship. They can also be a bit boring for those who aren't fans of weddings. Luckily, this movie has a way of spicing this get-together up, for better or worse. For the attendees, it's obviously the latter. The last weekend of January didn't have a lot of big movies playing in theaters until February rolled along to set the box office on fire. Fortunately, we got the power of streaming to fill that void, including the latest comedy starring Jennifer Lopez. The movie was supposed to be released in theaters last year before it got acquired by Amazon Studios, resulting in it being released digitally on Prime Video. It's unfortunate since the trailer made the film look like it could be a fun theatrical experience, regardless if it's good or not. But I guess it's better to release it somewhere than not to release it at all. So was the film a hilarious and action-packed wedding worth remembering? Let's find out.
The story follows Darcy Rivera (Lopez) and Tom Fowler (Duhamel) preparing for the ultimate destination wedding on a private island in the Philippines. They gathered their lovable yet opinionated families to attend this important day of their lives. However, just as the couple begins to have doubts, the wedding is interrupted by a gang of pirates, who takes the entire party hostage. With their families in danger, Darcy and Tom must put aside their differences to save their loved ones and even their love for each other.
I didn't get to this film right away because I was waiting to watch it with my mom. I know it seems like the only excuse I have for movies like this, but I'm sure other people also do it with their own mothers. My mom enjoys everything that Jennifer Lopez is involved in, so I figured it's only fair if I watch "Shotgun Wedding" with her regardless of the rating. Unsurprisingly, I also have a soft spot for Lopez, not just as a singer but also as a movie star. Her previous films were hit-and-miss, as far as I'm aware, but she usually packs in enough charisma to elevate some of them out of mediocrity. "Shotgun Wedding" seemed like it could be another addition to the singer/actress's lineup, especially with Josh Duhamel as her groom. Unfortunately, even with these promising leads and its mixture of romance, action, and comedy, this crazy wedding wasn't exactly the one to remember.
This is one of the films that feature a fun concept with far-fetched scenarios and hilarious hijinks, yet struggle to do much with it. I'm all in for movies that aren't afraid to get a bit crazy with their absurd premise if they're consistently entertaining, funny, and even charming. "Shotgun Wedding" has one involving a couple fighting a group of pirates on their wedding day, complete with adult language and violence. This sounded fun on paper, but regarding its execution, it's surprisingly restrained. Despite a couple of enjoyable moments involving the cast and action scenes, the film is a mildly dreadful event that offers less than the sum of its entertaining parts.
Considering how much I enjoyed Jason Moore's previous directorial efforts, it's unfortunate that he couldn't crack the code with this one. He made his successful debut with "Pitch Perfect", which is full of charm and laughs, while "Sisters" was a tolerable showcase for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. For "Shotgun Wedding", Moore attempts to combine charisma and humor with wedding romance and R-rated violence. The result is far from a disaster like the characters' wedding, but I can see that Moore struggled to find the winning combination of the film's comedy and action. Mark Hammer's screenplay didn't help much either, which resorts to several cliched romance elements, a slow first act, and tedious humor, mainly the lead characters arguing. There were a few moments that made me chuckle, including the ones that provided self-awareness, but the rest of them fell short of keeping the party going.
Despite not loving some of her recent movies, I admire Jennifer Lopez's efforts in carrying them through her drawing star power, regardless of the genre. Her performance as Darcy is no different. While it's not her best performance, Lopez's presence is suitable enough to keep me from leaving the wedding early. Josh Duhamel is no stranger to movies involving romance, action, or comedy, so it was a no-brainer that he would star in something like "Shotgun Wedding". His performance as Tom delivered some okay moments regarding the film's humor and heart, but as I mentioned before, they barely cut the surface of the wedding cake. Jennifer Coolidge and Cheech Marin were also fine in their roles as Carol Fowler and Robert Rivera, respectively.
Overall, "Shotgun Wedding" fumbles its crazy wedding getaway with a mildly entertaining yet disappointingly mediocre genre mixture. Considering the success of Jason Moore's previous films and the main leads, the film should've been a lot more fun. Instead, it's a subpar and easily disposable wedding with only a couple of bright spots to brighten everyone's mood. Lopez and Duhamel made a noticeable effort to elevate its fundamental premise, and a couple of jokes nearly landed for me. Sadly, they're not enough to turn this ceremony around due to Moore's middling direction, average screenplay, and weak humor. If you like Jennifer Lopez in her other films, you might have no problem watching "Shotgun Wedding". Otherwise, there's no rush in RSVPing for this event.