Review: Shotgun Wedding

Score: B-

Director: Jason Moore

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Coolidge

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Rated: R

It's 2023 and the same thing keeps happening: Jennifer Lopez crushes it in romantic comedies with mediocre scripts. She's been doing this for 20-plus years, effortlessly charming audiences in subpar material.

Shotgun Wedding has more going for it than most, including a strong supporting cast, decently directed action and gorgeous locale. But it never rises to anything higher than average. Perhaps that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, since this is debuting on Prime Video and starring the living embodiment of average: Josh Duhamel. As hapless fiancé Tom, he's totally adequate. But he's out-acted at every turn by his beloved Darcy.

Their destination wedding in the Philippines has been obsessed over for a year. While dealing with the typical issues - the catering, the DJ, keeping the exes separated - the nuptials are interrupted by two unexpected arrivals: Darcy's ex Sean (Lenny Kravitz) and an armed group of pirates who take every guest hostage. After the initial gunfire, the film follows a pattern that quickly grows tiresome: Darcy and Tom argue, then team up to take down a bad guy, then remember why they love each other. Repeat. Pause for laughter or a gruesome injury. While this R-rated rom-com has a few more swear words and the violence is a little bloodier, this is essentially a PG-13 movie trying to show off.

The film is fitfully amusing and exciting, but it really shines when it gives its supporting players time to shine. Jennifer Coolidge plays exactly what we expect from her as Tom's overbearing mother. Lenny Kravitz is still sexy and funny as the more adored partner. But D'Arcy Carden (Barry, A League of Their Own) really steals the show as the new girlfriend of Darcy's dad (Cheech Marin).

There's nothing especially bad about Shotgun Wedding, but there's nothing especially great either. But as the song goes, if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.