Rating: 1 out of 5.

Romantic comedies are perhaps the most comforting, easy-watching genre of movies out there. I admittedly have a soft spot for many rom-coms, even the ones that aren’t necessarily great. Growing up with classics like Legally Blonde, Heartbreakers, John Tucker Must Die, and The Devil Wears Prada, there is a certain quality these films carry that leaves me revisiting them time and time again. Shotgun Wedding, the brand-new Jennifer Lopez/Josh Duhamel vehicle, is sadly absent of a single notable quality. Every bit of the film feels manufactured and fresh off a conveyor belt. Jennifer Coolidge’s hilarious performance is the one and only redeeming factor, and also happens to mark the only time I laughed during a so-called comedy.

The wedding of the century is imminent, as planned expressly by the groomzilla! Mahal Resort in the Philippines was certainly “un-Bali-evably” cheaper than Bali (this is an actual joke in the film), but is there a reason behind the savings? Darcy (Lopez) the bride takes a backseat as groom Tom (Duhamel) constantly rejiggers and toys with the proceedings as the day draws closer. At their very own rehearsal dinner, Tom shows up soaking wet as a result of falling into the water near a boat after being mistaken for a pirate. Darcy’s uninvited ex, Sean (Lenny Kravitz), appears invited, flying in from Bali on his private jet and sure to demean Sean at every turn. Tensions run high between Darcy’s judgmental mother, Renata (Sonia Braga), and Tom’s overly enthusiastic, naive mom, Carol (Jennifer Coolidge). Darcy seems to have cold feet, and the presence of Sean sends Tom spirally down a corner of paranoid inadequacy. 

With marital problems rising to the surface on their legit wedding day and numerous guests waiting for them to arrive, Darcy and Tom argue amongst one another privately whilst something very troubling begins to occur. A large group of pirates with their faces covered emerge, and hold the entire party at gunpoint! Rounded up and forced to potentially give up their money at will, we are supposed to feel bad for these rich people when no part of Shotgun Wedding purports to be anything other than comedy. There never seems to be a tangible threat other than the guns that the bad guys wield. Are we supposed to be scared that any of these people will legitimately die?

No, instead, Shotgun Wedding appears to suggest confused messaging altogether. The baddies are inconsequential, being dispatched freely as if they were bugs on a windshield. Are we supposed to side with the bride and groom as they bumble their way around, killing random people in the process? A zip line sequence featuring abysmal CGI further solidifies that minimal effort was made on even trying to stick close to a believable scenario. Not even the film’s best scene, an impromptu crooning of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” can manage to swing the pendulum in the right tonal direction.

On their own, both Lopez and Duhamel have an impressive amount of actual good rom-coms under their belt. How does one go from The Wedding Planner or Win a Date with Tad Hamilton to this abhorrent film? Why separately are they lovely, but together, Lopez and Duhamel have no chemistry in Shotgun Wedding? It would appear each were cast on their pedigree alone, as the script does them no favors in terms of acting range. Nothing special happens here performance-wise, serving as only a blemish on the respective actors’ filmographies. Sadly, the film isn’t even as good as Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston starrer Murder Mystery, which in itself was only just okay. The year just started, and yet Shotgun Wedding is already one of the worst movies I have seen.

Don’t lose your invitation for the Shotgun Wedding when it RSVP’s globally to Prime Video on Friday, January 27th. 

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