Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Prime Time: Shotgun Wedding (2022)

A destination wedding can be a stressful affair. It is just like any other expensive wedding, but usually even MORE expensive. You have to work even harder on curating your guest list. You want everyone getting along while they stay in the one location. You have a lot of work to do in order to enjoy the big day. The last thing you would want is for everyone to be upset by armed pirates. Unfortunately, that is what happens at the wedding of Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel).

Yep, Shotgun Wedding is a mix of rom-com and action that stars some attractive people in a sun-bathed location. It’s ridiculous fluff, and it’s easygoing entertainment if you are in the mood for something slick and predictable.

I am quite happy to watch anything directed by Jason Moore (who also did Pitch Perfect and Sisters, two comedies I really enjoyed) and this continues his streak of mainstream comedies that manage to deliver a good time without trying too hard to break or subvert any kind of formula. Formulaic entertainment isn’t necessarily bad, not when you have a decent selection of people behind and in front of the camera. Okay, the script is by Mark Hammer, and I don’t think anyone is rushing to see the next film from the writer of Two Night Stand, but this is a marked step up from that film, perhaps due as much to the canny casting as the script.

Lopez and Duhamel pair up nicely here, despite the fact that I have never seen Duhamel in a role that I didn’t think could be improved by replacing him with Johnny Knoxville (this film included). They bicker with one another well, enjoy moments of sweetness in between bursts of chaos, and both keep looking ridiculously attractive, even after spending a lot of time fighting to stay alive. Jennifer Coolidge tries to steal a number of scenes with her supporting role, playing the mother of Duhamel’s character, and there’s fun to be had with Cheech Marin, Sonia Braga, Lenny Kravitz (playing a hilariously “perfect” ex-boyfriend), Steve Coulter, D’Arcy Carden, and Callie Hernandez, as well as one or two others.

Impressively, everyone gets time to make an impression without the runtime becoming bloated (this clocks in at 100 minutes, and that feels only slightly too long), the balance of the comedy and the threat to lives is well-maintained, and, rightly or wrongly, you get the feeling that those making the movie were all having fun, whether in the midst of the action or spending most of their day standing in a swimming pool (where the guests are held hostage for the majority of the film).

I am not going to rush to rewatch Shotgun Wedding, I would never need to own it, nor will it be one I am likely to recommend to people after it has vacated my memory in a few weeks. But I won’t pretend that I disliked it. It did make me laugh, it was comfortingly simple, and I would happily watch an unnecessary sequel entitled, I dunno, Shotgun Honeymoon. This was a star vehicle that managed to get a lot of things right, and that is worth a bit of praise, because we can all name a LOT of star vehicles that get plenty wrong.


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