“Darcy and Tom gather their families for the ultimate destination wedding but when the entire wedding party is taken hostage the bride and groom must save their loved ones–if they don’t kill each other first.”

Director: Jason Moore
Writers: Mark Hammer
Staring: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Coolidge
Rated: R
Release Date: January 27, 2023

I know, I know. I shouldn’t have been expecting that much from Shotgun Wedding. I know, I know, it’s a romantic comedy with a twist, so who should have expected the world? Maybe there is a twisted part of me that got my hopes up because the trailer I saw previewing the movie wasn’t that mad! As for the actual movie, the final product of Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel’s friendship still manages to trip on its walks down the aisle.

Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) are two lovers who are getting married at a beautiful location on some remote island. It is not entirely important where. Tom is playing that part of the “bridezilla” and Darcy adopts the classic nervous cold-feet mantra. The gender-role-swap romantic comedy carries the first 20 minutes and hits peak cringe when Darcy’s ex Sean Hawkins (Lenny Kravitz) arrives via helicopter.

After a classic argument just before the ceremony, Shotgun Wedding begins to blast off with its zaniness. Pirates arrive at the beach and take the guests hostage. The only two who are not corralled by the bad guys are of course, Tom and Darcy. The two are handcuffed together and forced to work hand-in-hand in order to survive. Darcy learns about grenades, Tom grows some confidence, and bad guys are foiled left and right.

In the end, Tom and Darcy have to figure out why these pirates are here, and how they know that their wedding was happening on this certain island. Who is to be trusted? Who will rise to the occasion and save the day? Will the two families get along? Will love prevail?

These are all classic markers of this genre that Shotgun Wedding touches upon. It is a very run-of-the-mill romantic comedy in terms of the tropes it hits, and the twist of Jennifer Lopez wielding guns and tossing grenades is meant to be the fun topping on this average Sunday viewing sundae.

Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Lopez

Shotgun Wedding is a classic, ABSOLUTE CLASSIC, example of the let’s get two very attractive people to star in a movie and hope it works.

Does it work? That depends on how much milage you want out of the movie.

For some reason, I personally thought the action in Shotgun Wedding was going to be better and take more of the spotlight in the story. This is where my folly is. The trailer that I watched made it seem like we were going to see J-Lo emulating Halle Berry in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019) and begin calling the dogs on people.

Instead the action in Shotgun Wedding was created with in a shotgun manner…meaning off the cuff and scattered. Even when the pirates arrived on the land, the story was still about Darcy and Tom when all I wanted was more of a random Knight & Day (2010) approach?

I have one major question with Shotgun Wedding. Why are all these pirates wearing masks like they are in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)? What is the point of the masks first of all, and secondly, why are they so extravagant? Is it because they are in some foreign land and they need to fit in with the vacation mood? Is it because they are associated with Hawkins? But it seems like the mastermind was more so Harriet (D’Arcy Carden), so do they know her? That would be really bad criminal practice. It is a baffling costume choice. Baffling.

I have another question. Is it genetics, or pilates?

Jennifer Coolidge as Carol

Jennifer Coolidge plays the most purposeful comedy bit of this romantic comedy. Playing the part of Carol, Tom’s mom, Coolidge has the running gag of being over honest, over sharing and over exuberant. No idea if Shotgun Wedding was filmed before or after White Lotus season two, but the Emmy winning actress does come through with some of the best one-liners of the movie. Her talking about how her body fits together without someone else got the only audible chuckle out of me the entire movie.

Oh! One final good joke that also came from a side character. Tom has a brother Ricky (Desmin Borges) and he hooks up with the beautiful but scary Jamie Rivera (Callie Hernandez), the sister of Darcy. There is just a great bit about how Ricky is terrified of Jamie, and how she likes that.

I guess that we should talk about the two leads in Shotgun Wedding?

What I can genuinely say is that you can tell that Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Lopez are having a very fun time. They were friends before the movie, and that sort camaraderie. The script is not doing them many favors, but they are doing their best with what they have to work with. Lopez’s job is look absolutely incredible, and she passes that with flying colors.

I do have a thought. Do you remember in Star Trek Into Darkness (2017) when there was the really unnecessary undergarments shot of Carol Marcus that everyone got up in arms about? Do we think that was categorized as “bad” because it was in a science-fiction movie and Jennifer Lopez parading around with no pants is okay because it was in a romantic comedy?

I am not trying to be a woke monster, but my mind was triggered because both instances are more about making sure we see the attractive person look attractive than actually being context of the story. It is a ploy to get eyeballs on the screen, and it does work, absolutely, but it is also a bit too on the nose for someone to completely ignore its purpose.

Lenny Kravitz as Sean Hawkins

Random fun fact. Shotgun Wedding was directed by Jason Moore…the same guy who directed Pitch Perfect (2012). Had no idea. And for the record, Pitch Perfect is a better movie.

Other random fact, Mark Hammer wrote Shotgun Wedding, and while he is relatively knew to the movie script writing scene, I have seen something else he has written on. Two Night Stand (2014) is a low budget romantic comedy staring Miles Teller and Lio Tipton that pins two individuals in a house together while a snow storm rages outside. It is a classic get-to-know you then appreciate you movie, and I prefer it to Shotgun Wedding if you are looking for a mind-numbing watch.

Shotgun Wedding is not great. Part of my disappointment is most likely due to my poor expectations going in. If you want a 90 minute romp of beautiful people doing zany things and a bunch of comedic faces engaging in some awkward bantering, then I would recommend this movie to anyone on a Friday slightly night.

You see the difference between these posters? This is some solid photoshop work.


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