‘Shotgun Wedding’ or — The Best God-Awful-Tropical-Island-Wedding-Movie I’ve Seen in the Last Five Months?!
‘Shotgun Wedding’ (2022) is just one of the latest in the baffling current trend of ‘tropical island wedding movies’, a genre of films I seem to rapidly, and worryingly, fast becoming an, well, maybe “expert” is too strong a word but if I watch even just one more of these bloody things then I think that epithet might apply.
The movie is pretty awful with a script that feels like it was written by a couple of A.I. bots who’ve had the very basics of comedy writing — rule of three, repetition of certain words, calling out its own jokes in a “meta” way — programmed into them and then simply left to churn this shit out. So it’s less of a screenplay and more a highly complex algorithm to make Jennifer Lopez appear funny.
The set-up is idiotically simple as it’s, basically, ‘Die Hard’ at a wedding as we watch Jennifer Lopez’ nuptials interrupted by gun-toting pirates demanding a ransom from the bride’s father. With the guests held hostage it’s down to Lopez and her groom, Josh Duhamel, to er… accidentally and brutally murder and kill every single one of the pirates in a gruesome and horrible bloodbath? No wonder America has a problem with gun violence!
And that’s it because there is literally nothing more to this movie than that. Indeed, it’s actually quite impressive that the filmmakers managed to make such a shallow and empty movie without anything of any substance even sneaking in purely by the chaotic laws of chance or sheer accident.
So it’s awful, right? Well, that depends on context because compared to 2022’s other tropical island wedding movie, the screamingly tedious ‘Ticket to Paradise’, ‘Shotgun Wedding’ is a bloody… again, “masterpiece” might be too strong a word but it’s not THAT far off in comparison.
For one thing, ‘Ticket to Paradise’ is a comedically lazy and inert experience that’s seemingly content to raise laughs (and Jesus had less trouble, and more success, raising Lazarus from the fucking dead!) purely by reliance on the presumed charm of its two leads, plus Clooney’s dad-dancing… and that’s it! ‘Shotgun Wedding’, on the other hand, actually feels like it is putting some genuine effort into its gags. For example — there’s a moment when one of the guests is defending herself for wearing white to a wedding and claiming she had no idea it was inappropriate to do so, to which Jennifer Coolidge brusquely retorts “Yes you did. You’re a gaslighter.” I laughed at the line last night and I’m still chuckling about it this morning.
Or take ANOTHER tropical island rom-com from last year (where the hell are all these coming from?!), the should’ve-been-better-than-it-was ‘The Lost City’, a film with a solidly fun premise that soon gets so seriously and turgidly bogged down that any sense of breezy lightness is rapidly extinguished in both the movie and the audience’s soul. ‘Shotgun Wedding’, however, doesn’t have that problem as it’s functioning on a level of such profound stupidity that, just like watching an uncoordinated Labrador puppy falling down a flight of stairs, it certainly keeps moving along at a brisk, if ungainly, pace.
Look, the movie is terrible but at least you, and it, knows exactly what it is from the very first frame meaning I never once felt cheated, disappointed, let-down, resentful (you have NO idea how important that one is) or indignantly piqued. Most of the jokes don’t work but there were a number that did so yeah, I’ll happily and openly admit I laughed way more than I expected I would.
Besides, any film that climaxes with Jennifer Coolidge wielding an AK-47 has automatically got something going for it.