‘Shotgun Wedding’ Review: ‘Die Hard’ With Refreshments

A destination wedding becomes a high-stakes hostage situation in this action-heavy film.

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By Calum Marsh

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As a general rule, putting Jennifer Lopez in your romantic comedy automatically gets you halfway to a decent movie. The male lead hardly matters: while Lopez has had natural chemistry with George Clooney (“Out of Sight”) and Matthew McConaughey (“The Wedding Planner”), she’s had it just as easily with men of less distinction, like, say, Michael Vartan (“Monster in Law”) or Alex O’Loughlin (“The Back-Up Plan”).

In the frothy action rom-com “Shotgun Wedding,” directed by Jason Moore, Lopez stars opposite Josh Duhamel: not exactly Clark Gable, but Lopez makes it work. She always does. As a couple whose destination wedding is interrupted by hostage-taking pirate-terrorists, the two bicker and banter with classic screwball brio, with a love-hate rapport that is both delightful and effortlessly convincing. Much of the dialogue feels canned and phony in the style of a badly written sitcom. But coming out of J. Lo’s mouth, I believed it.

“Shotgun Wedding” combines two familiar subgenres in a fairly original way — the comedy of remarriage, in which an embittered couple rediscover their affection after having drifted apart, and the single-setting terrorist picture, in which an Everyman (or Everywoman) must rescue hostages from an elite squad of armed bad guys. “Die Hard” meets “The Awful Truth,” in essence, with a wedding in the Philippines as its sumptuous tropical setting. It’s an appealing setup, and as Lopez and Duhamel begin to take up machine guns and grenades against their foes, there’s some novel charm in seeing the tensions of the rom-com and the action thriller playfully juxtaposed. Less agreeable is the forced air of ingratiating humor. Cloying pop culture references and of-the-moment punch lines abound, including jokes about Etsy and gaslighting. It smacks of desperation to go viral — a fault jarringly at odds with the pleasing simplicity of the rest of the movie.

Shotgun Wedding
Rated R for strong language, sexual innuendo and (surprisingly) graphic violence. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. Watch on Amazon Prime Video.

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