Jennifer Lopez has been steadily building one of the most interesting careers around, from blockbusters (Hustlers) to independent films, music videos to Instagram stories, finding a unique, meta groove in her work. J.Lo’s Marry Me, seems to take us behind the scenes of her well-documented love life and the result is a surprisingly revelatory rom-com. It’s a candid, smart and sexy dissection of celebrity, set against the backdrop of New York City.
Lopez plays Kat, a musician too impulsive for her own good. She talks too much about fashion and has been married three times. She’s a Lopez caricature. After she finds out her fiance Bastian (Maluma) has been cheating on her, just as they are about to go on stage for a concert, she does something bizarre. She stares into the crowd, zeroes in on Charlie (Owen Wilson), who is holding up a sign saying “marry me,” and says “yes.” Charlie is hauled up on stage, a ceremony is performed and the crowd goes nuts.
Everyone from Jimmy Fallon to Robin Roberts reacts to their marriage, which is publicized similarly to Lopez’s own recent relationships with Alex Rodriguez and Ben Affleck. There’s a lot of metatextual moments throughout (POV shots from paparazzi cameras, gossip columns about Kat+Charlie ala “Beniffer”) that give this story a very personal feel. Charlie isn’t Kat’s type, but he does have something going for him. He’s a math teacher, lives in Brooklyn and has a daughter named Lou (Chloe Coleman). The two bond over parties, concerts, press conferences and, of course, Tik-Tok dances.
Part of the eye-candyish charm of Marry Me is diving into the gossip, people, friendships, and outlandish displays of wealth. But the human hindrances that stand between Kat and Charlie–including her jealous ex Bastian, and most importantly, her snotty publicist, Melissa (Michelle Bateau)– keep things grounded. Melissa doesn’t believe Charlie’s nerdy, buttoned-up image is up to snuff with the more popular and sexy options out there.
None of this would work without the love story at the center, and Lopez and Wilson share a natural chemistry that feels authentic. Whether they’re at Kat’s vacation home or at Charlie’s math contest, the on-screen energy between them is palpable. You root for them to make it despite the many, many obstacles in their way.
Marry Me is about so much more than just Kat and Charlie’s love story. It’s about the nature of fame, and dealing with that fame in different scenarios, settings and relationships. It’s not hard to draw parallels between Kat and Charlie and Lopez and Affleck: everything (and everyone) Lopez does is publicized, scrutinized, written about and fetishized. It’s heartening to watch her skewer the headlines with a wink and a smile, and you may even find yourself moved by her honesty. She makes saying “yes” to Marry Me a no-brainer.
Marry Me is steaming on Peacock.TV (premium) now.