At first glance, Shotgun Wedding will remind you of last year’s The Lost City. Both films feature a good-looking couple who end up trekking through the jungle on an adventure they are ill-equipped to handle. That’s where the similarities end though as Shotgun Wedding is more of a Die Hard clone than anything.
There’s been a lot of different spins on the Die Hard formula throughout the years. Die Hard on a plane, Die Hard on a bus, Die Hard in the White House. Shotgun Wedding brings Die Hard to a wedding and while the action itself isn’t going to impress anybody, the chemistry of the leads and charisma of the supporting cast is enough to give you a good time.
Darcy and Tom, played by Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel are having a destination wedding on an island in the Philippines. Things don’t go well as an argument on the day of the wedding leads them to call it off. Even worse while they’re off arguing, pirates take all the wedding guest hostage and now it’s up to them to save everyone. It’s your standard rom-com set-up and Die Hard set-up rolled into one. Again, this isn’t going to win any points for originality but it isn’t trying to.
Films like this live and die on the chemistry of the leads and Lopez and Duhamel keep this lively throughout. Whether they’re bickering, fumbling their way to heroic success, or rekindling their romantic spark, they’re easy to root for and always entertaining. Even though you’ve seen all their story beats before in other movies, you’re never drawn away from what’s happening and that’s all thanks to Lopez and Duhamel.
Equally as good as the leads, and better in some cases, is the supporting cast of wedding guests. Many of the film’s biggest laughs come from the wedding guests as they deal with their hostage situation. With a cast that includes Cheech Martin and Jennifer Coolidge That shouldn’t be a surprise. Coolidge in particular steals every scene she’s in and frankly, the film is worth the watch for her alone.
Its biggest fault is the anonymity of the pirates themselves. Obviously, they present a threat to these hapless wedding guests and give the film real stakes but they all come across as canon fodder. There is no Hans Gruber here. Just pirates that exist to be defeated one by one. It’s sorely missing a central villain presence. The pirates are all nameless, faceless threats without much individual personality. That’s especially felt during the scenes with the hostages. The cast makes those scenes funny but in not having them interact with a real distinct villain, the film misses out. It settles for what it is when it could have been more.
The action itself is nothing special but it serves its purpose. These characters are no John McClane nor are they meant to be. They fumble their way to victory and the action conveys that. It’s not a spectacle and some of the budget shows but it serves its function. You’re not meant to be watching this for the action and if you are then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Shotgun Wedding isn’t the most original film of its type nor is it the best. What it is though is a genuinely decent time. The chemistry between Lopez and Duhamel as well as the performances of the supporting cast will keep you entertained even when other aspects of the film begin the creak. It’s not as refreshing or even as good as The Lost City but it provides enough genuine laughs to make it worth the watch.
Rating: Cruise Control
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