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Set on a beautiful tropical island in the Philippines, Darcy, played by Jennifer Lopez, and her soon-to-be husband, Tom, played by Josh Duhamel, prepare for their lavish destination wedding with their closest friends and family members in attendance. With the awkward dissatisfaction of the in-laws, tensions rise between Darcy, who shows little consideration to the valid insecurities of Tom, who loses his priorities in trying to ensure the perfect wedding. After a night of setting the record straight, Darcy and Tom have a seemingly smooth wedding ahead of them until another argument sends them to an isolated location away from the venue. During the lovers’ quarrel that leads to the decision to call off the wedding, the wedding guests are held hostage by armed pirates. Unsure of where they came from, the newly broken duo must work together to solve the mystery of their origin, save the guests, and avoid ripping each others’ heads off in the process.
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‘Shotgun Wedding’ is a messy yet funny action comedy with the right touch of romance for an action film revolving around a wedding. From the director of ‘Pitch Perfect’, Jason Moore brings the slapstick survival flick to life with his use of nonchalant violent deaths around characters who really are not built for the situation. The characters’ chemistry is questionable at times, but lands well enough at the important times to get the final message of the importance of cooperation and compromise across. Josh Duhamel was a great casting choice and plays the learning husband role well as seen in his other works like ‘Love, Simon’ and ‘Safe Haven’. In being the replacement for Armie Hammer, Josh Duhamel proved to be a great opposite of Jennifer Lopez, who also has a solid lineup of rom-coms on her IMDb.
Jennifer Coolidge Steals the Screen
Ever since her casting on ‘The White Lotus’, Jennifer Coolidge has been a hot actress and scored many roles for trendy films and series everywhere. In ‘Shotgun Wedding’, Coolidge plays Duhamel’s mother. As one of the captives at the wedding destination, Carol Fowler (Jennifer Coolidge’s character) takes it upon herself to stand up for her life and lead the protest against the criminals. In these b-story scenes, it adds the perfect drops and executions of comedy to level out the aggression and romance from the a-story of Darcy and Tom. One of the greatest sights of the film is when Coolidge picks up the automatic rifle while defending everyone and firing away. Coolidge wielding a gun and firing away is prone to be meme-worthy as shown by the internet’s love for that scene in the finale of the second season of ‘The White Lotus’.
Other guest stars include Sônia Braga (‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’) who plays Jennifer Lopez’s mother who fails to ever be satisfied, and Cheech Marin (from the ‘Cheech and Chong’ series) as Jennifer Lopez’s father who instigates the wedding tension in inviting Darcy’s wealthy helicopter-flying ex-boyfriend, Sean Hawkins (played by Lenny Kravitz). Steve Coulter from the ‘Insidious’ series and ‘The Good Place’s D’arcy Carden also join the large ensemble cast to create this explosive romantic comedy. With Jason Moore’s experience with working with large casts like ‘Pitch Perfect’, his directorial style helps highlight all the characters and gives them each their own memorable moment to shine. None of these characters are filler characters and each has something to offer the film’s substance and personality. Utilizing the terrible in-law trope to rise tensions but making comedy out of their lack of self-awareness narrates the funny reality that some parents just will not admit they are not ready for in-laws.
Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel Have the Language of Rom-Coms Down
As veterans in the rom-com world, Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel both have their rom-com performances down. Able to deliver with the same quality as their past performances, it felt like a naturally flowing film. What may have thrown off the performance is just how consistent they are with their rom-com performances. While Jennifer Lopez performs in the JLo rom-com way, Duhamel performs in the Duhamel rom-com way, so occasionally it just seemed like their performances were clashing but overall maybe it helped promote the lack of chemistry that the characters have which caused their breakup.
Nevertheless, the lead performances were able to pull some laughs. The dynamic unfolded to be one of the best seen in each of their rom-com filmographies. As the dominant woman in the relationship that learns to subdue her overbearing control, Darcy learns how being obsessed with control can be the downfall of a relationship. To admit to one’s fault, one must listen to the other’s concerns even if it may not be agreed upon. Tom learns that a wife is one of the best support systems in the world, and even though Darcy was not quite reaching her maximum potential to support him, she ultimately had his back through thick and thin. There’s a surprising amount of actual relationship advice throughout the film if the viewer pays attention to the flaws of the relationship in the film.
Jennifer Lopez has three large action films on her list of upcoming projects. ‘The Mother’ features JLo as an assassin coming out of retirement to use her skills to protect her daughter. Along with Simu Liu and Sterling K Brown, JLo will also star in ‘Atlas’, a bleak film about the future of war consisting of AI-operated soldiers realizing that humanity is the virus of the world. Third, ‘The Godmother’ will star JLo in a film about the rise and fall of the late drug lord Griselda Blanco.
For Joshua Duhamel, he has one film on his lineup for release. A sequel titled ‘Buddy Games 2’ following the first film which Joshua Duhamel wrote and co-directed.
‘Shotgun Wedding’ is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
By Nino Vongphachanh
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