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‘Shotgun Wedding’ review

Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) head to the Philippines with their families and friends to tie the knot on a picturesque island. During the rehearsal dinner, Darcy’s ex-fiancé Sean (Lenny Kravitz) unexpectedly shows up and the next morning both Darcy and Tom begin to get cold feet. A discussion about how they feel turns into an argument with the two threatening to call off the wedding, unaware that pirates have arrived on the island and taken everyone else hostage. Realising they have to put their differences aside, Darcy and Tom work together to save everyone and get their relationship back on track.

‘Shotgun Wedding’ is an action rom-com from director Jason Moore (‘Pitch Perfect’) and writer Mark Hammer (‘Two Night Stand’). Before arriving on Prime Video, the film hit the headlines when the original male lead, Armie Hammer, dropped out of the project following controversy about his private life. He was replaced by Josh Duhamel, who joined a stellar cast that includes Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Coolidge and Lenny Kravitz.

Shotgun Wedding
Credit: Prime Video

A rom-com with an action twist, ‘Shotgun Wedding’ is a wonderfully entertaining watch that made me laugh-out-loud frequently and delivered everything I wanted it to. The film sets out the various supporting characters during the rehearsal dinner for the wedding in the first half hour, including Tom’s over-bearing and unfiltered mother Carol (Jennifer Coolidge) and Darcy’s intense sister Jamie (Callie Hernandez) and mother Renata (Sonia Braga). There’s also a solid turn from rock star Lenny Kravitz as Darcy’s former fiancé Sean who is still close to her father Robert (Cheech Marin).

The first seeds of doubt take hold of both Darcy and Tom following the rehearsal dinner and the next morning both of them are wondering if they’re making the right decision. Lopez and Duhamel play well off each other, with an easy chemistry making them believable as a couple in love, and at odds. Both actors have a knack for comedic timing and their scenes together always lift the film. When the two characters realise the situation they’re in, they put aside their squabbling (almost) to formulate a plan and much hilarity ensues.

Lopez always has a rough ride with critics and early reviews of this film have been predictably scathing. The simple fact is Lopez is a real talent. She can act, she can sing, she can dance and she puts in the graft behind-the-scenes as a producer too. Like last year’s ‘Marry Me’, ‘Shotgun Wedding’ is a perfect vehicle for Lopez’s abilities and it is her that elevates this beyond your typical rom-com fare. Duhamel brings his A-game too, matching Lopez step-for-step and impressing with his ability to switch from goofy to serious when the scene requires it.

Shotgun Wedding
Credit: Prime Video

Jennifer Coolidge’s winning streak continues and she’s without a doubt the scene-stealer as the outspoken Carol. The role might not be too far out of her comfort zone but there’s always something so entertaining about Coolidge playing characters with zero filter. She gets some of the biggest laughs here and there’s one scene with a machine gun that is a standout moment in the film.

‘Shotgun Wedding’ will undoubtedly be another one of Lopez’s films that the critics can’t wait to tear apart but her fans will lap up and stream it to death (as they did with ‘Marry Me’). All I wanted going in was to be entertained, to laugh and to enjoy Lopez and Duhamel together on screen. That’s exactly what ‘Shotgun Wedding’ delivered and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s also the perfect film for this miserable January weather and it’s yet another sign that the rom-com is making a much-needed comeback thanks to Lopez.

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge, Lenny Kravitz, Sonia Braga, Cheech Marin, Desmin Borges, Callie Hernandez Director: Jason Moore Writer: Mark Hammer Certificate: 15 Duration: 100 mins Released by: Prime Video Release date: 27th January 2023

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) head to the Philippines with their families and friends to tie the knot on a picturesque island. During the rehearsal dinner, Darcy’s ex-fiancé Sean (Lenny Kravitz) unexpectedly shows up and the next morning both Darcy and Tom...‘Shotgun Wedding’ review