Review | ‘Marry Me’ relies too much on Instagram, not enough on romance


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Jennifer Lopez playing Kat Valdez, left, and Owen Wilson playing Charlie Gilbert in “Marry Me.”

By Diana Velasquez, Culture Editor

Few and far between are the romcoms about people over 35 falling in love.

Usually, you’re looking at a young, Ryan Gosling-like figure standing in the rain in a tight translucent T-shirt, his six-pack out for all the world to see — and sure it’s lovely looking at young guys in tight T-shirts, or Rachel McAdams being young and gorgeous, but it can get old.

It seems that JLo, or Jennifer Lopez for those looking to spell the whole thing out, was looking to rectify that trend with a new rom-com of her own. But “Marry Me,” released this past weekend in theaters and on Peacock, seems to have more hits than misses.

In theory, “Marry Me” has a plot reminiscent of those cheap paperback romance novels. One of those ridiculously outlandish, but adorable romantic plotlines which follows a rich pop star and the dowdy schoolteacher falling in love. Only now we’ve got Owen Wilson to counteract the dazzling rhinestone-covered JLo as a love interest.

The movie begins with an engagement. Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez), a world-renowned pop star, is set to marry her longtime fiance, fellow singer Bastian (Maluma), in a concert/wedding event that will be televised to more than 20 million people.

But of course, Bastian proves himself to be a cheating bastard and hooks up with Kat’s assistant right before the ceremony. After having seen the video evidence, Kat goes on stage alone and picks out one Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) in the crowd to marry.

In a moment of insanity, or perhaps dazzled by Kat’s wonderful cheekbones, Charlie says yes.

The rest of the movie focuses on the ramifications of this impulse decision. After all, we’ve long departed from medieval times when people were often married off to people they didn’t know. Now, we’re faced with the modern minefield of dating, and maybe perhaps getting to actually know and love one another in the process.

Kat and Charlie’s chemistry is pretty okay, and I liked this “spontaneous” aspect to their courting. It’s implied that Kat has been in multiple failed committed relationships, and Charlie has been stuck in a long rut after his divorce. They’re older and tried their hand at love. So sticking with the same old routine isn’t working — it’s time to try something new.

If the movie had stuck to this concept the whole way through, I probably would have liked it more. But it seemed determined to push what has become my least favorite part of watching “modern-day” movies — the constant overuse of social media.

Yes, we’re all on our phones all the time. You’d have to pry my own from my cold dead hands, but I don’t think I’m the only one that likes watching movies to escape from this constant internet-dominated reality.

In “Marry Me,” we’re somehow connected to social media all the time. This is partly because Kat is a worldwide megastar, so of course she has to have 10 billion assistants to keep up with her 10 billion followers on Instagram and all the related accounts. But it feels like every two seconds in this movie we’re shooting another Instagram live for her followers.

Charlie, a humble math teacher, is to no one’s surprise pretty turned off by this in the beginning of their relationship. The main conflict of the movie revolves around him adapting to this kind of life, and Kat learning how to turn off her “superstar” mode sometimes.

It’s a valid pivot for both parties to adapt to, but it makes for a lot of TikTok montages and awkwardly placed camera cameos. It reminds me of the recent movie with TikTok star Addison Rae, “He’s All That,” which follows a similar “social media mogul” meets “everyday introvert” storyline.

Really though, the worst thing about this movie is the constant advertisements.

No, there weren’t any commercial breaks mid-scene, but there might as well have been with the amount of products they were awkwardly pushing every scene. It could have been worse — since Kat is supposed to be this big pop star she has a lot of endorsement deals that Charlie has to adapt to — but it doesn’t make their placement any less awkward.

There’s one particular scene, where Kat shows up at Charlie’s school to visit his mathlete team and gives them a sort of motivational speech — citing her own anxiety with performing on stage.

Rather than just looking up the video of her onstage faux paus where she forgets the lyrics to one of her own songs mid-concert, Kat makes it a point to click on the iPad and say “Okay, Google” to search for the video.

Maybe this is supposed to be a marker of being 35 years old and over, because I’ve never heard anyone my age actually use Google’s voice function over taking two seconds to type their question into the search bar.

And Google isn’t the only product advertised in the movie by far. Vitamix,, Coach and more all make their appearances in the plot of the story in equally awkward ways.

I understand needing to pay for a movie, and sometimes you need to have your character driving an Audi or standing in front of a Coca-Cola machine. But when the products you’re using to pay for the movie overshadow the plot itself, I can’t really defend it anymore.

It’s not a horrible watch — Kat and Charlie’s chemistry is cute and relatively palpable. They share a slow-dancing scene to Camelot’s “If I Ever Were To Leave You,” where Kat is serenaded by Charlie’s raspy-yet-charming singing voice.

This is by no means a “watch and cry” kind of Valentine’s Day flick, and it doesn’t inspire the same kind of lovey-dovey feeling that those iconic early 2000s rom-coms might.  “Marry Me” makes for a slightly awkward but entertaining movie to watch on Peacock, but probably isn’t worth the price of a movie ticket.