Shotgun Wedding movie review: This vanilla rom-com needed more Jennifer Coolidge
Shotgun Wedding movie review: This destination wedding caper, starring Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel, is quite ordinary. It fails to capitalise on the supporting cast's comedic talents, especially scene-stealer Jennifer Coolidge.
Set on an island resort, Shotgun Wedding follows the nuptials of a couple, Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) that go horribly wrong when pirates hijack it. To save their loved ones, they must outsmart the pirates, while trying to keep their own sanity before they say their vows. Directed by Jason Moore, Shotgun Wedding has all the standard tropes of a romantic comedy, but does not stand out with its vanilla story and screenplay by Mark Hammer. (Also read: Jennifer Lopez shares new pics from her wedding with Ben Affleck, talks about perfect timing: ‘Finally settling down’)
Lopez plays the anxious bride, who has to see her divorced parents, played by Sonia Braga and Cheech Marin, make small talk along with her father's new girlfriend Harriet (D'Arcy Carden). Tom, meanwhile, is in charge of planning the whole wedding at the Mahal Island Resort in the Philippines. His parents, played by Steve Coulter and Jennifer Coolidge, are much more enthusiastic, and yet the couple is a bit jittery ahead of the destination wedding.
It doesn't help matters that Darcy's cool ex Sean (Lenny Kravitz) shows up to complicate matters. While they are trying to work out their feelings ahead of the ceremony, pirates decide to make themselves unwelcome guests and demand a ransom from the bride's father. Tom and Darcy evade escape as the rest of the guests are taken hostage. They must navigate through armed gunmen, a live grenade, and the threat of their loved ones' lives, to make it out on the other side. Nothing brings a couple together like a death threat.
Unsurprisingly, despite getting a little worse for the wear, the bride and groom hold their own against the pirates. They do some plotting of their own and with help from the resort's managers, formulate a plan. The comedy goes through all predictable points, with some action sequences thrown in for mild laughs. The reveal of the main villain felt easy to foretell and held no real menace. Besides a chuckle here and there, Shotgun Wedding has few moments of romance and fewer of comedy.
The film does not utilize its supporting cast well enough, by giving them zingier material to work with. With a literal rockstar in Kravitz and a Golden Globe-winning comedy veteran in Coolidge, the film could have done so much more. It's never a good sign in a film when a character utters the line, "I don't know why, I have a bad feeling about this." In fact, the film needed so much more of Coolidge, who steals every scene she's in. It was a great decision to cast her as Lopez's mother-in-law, and their interactions are few. All the best bits are already revealed in the trailer.
Lopez, who is also producer on the project, tries to balance the comedy and emotions of her role. But it does fall flat as there's not enough material to work on. Shotgun Wedding throws us into their rehearsal dinner and straightaway moves to their wedding, telling us little about the couple and their romance. The chemistry between her and Duhamel is also thin. Ryan Reynolds, who is executive producer on the film, was originally attached to star in the rom-com.
The end credits shows the cast, and their characters, actually letting loose as they sing and dance at a party. It gives us a glimpse of what the romantic comedy could have actually been like. Shotgun Wedding premieres on Lionsgate Play in India on January 27.