Shotgun Wedding review: Jennifer Lopez’s destination wedding goes horribly wrong

Jennifer Lopez as Darcy Rivera and Josh Duhamel as Tom Fowler in Shotgun Wedding. Photo Credit: Ana Carballosa
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Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel play a couple troubled by fussy family members – and pirates – before their nuptials in Shotgun Wedding. 

Once again, Jennifer Lopez stars in a romcom in which her character is about to get married. Shotgun Wedding, however, is a little bit different from these previous outings, in that the proceedings are interrupted by a group of pirates taking the wedding guests hostage.  

It’s up to the bride and groom-to-be, Darcy (Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel), to save the day. Jason Moore (of Pitch Perfect) directs, bringing his comedy sensibilities to the movie while taking his first step into the realm of action films. 

Shotgun Wedding begins by dropping us into the middle of a hellish family event – the rehearsal dinner. The hotel they’re staying in in the Philippines may be beautiful, but nothing else is going smoothly. 

From the outset Lopez’s Darcy is remarkably likeable. The actor is playing the same sweet type of character that she won us over with in the likes of Monster In Law. But Darcy also has some bite to her – more on that later. 

The trouble stems initially from the people she’s surrounded by. The colourful characters that make up Darcy and Tom’s families play to every stereotype in the book. Tom’s mum Carol (an effervescent Jennifer Coolidge) is welcoming and good-natured but slightly overbearing. Meanwhile Darcy’s mother Renata (Sônia Braga) is aloof and fussy and her father Robert (Cheech Marin) only cares about money and outward appearances. It’s a very volatile mixture of people. 

In the distance Tom is attempting to get everything sorted for the big day. Spoiler: it’s not going well. Duhamel immediately endears himself to us by playing Tom as a hapless groom who’s genuinely trying his best, but it’s just not working out for the poor guy. And then Darcy’s ex (played by a perpetually almost-shirtless Lenny Kravitz) shows up to attend the wedding. Could anything else go wrong? 

It could, as it turns out. As all these factors mingle and cause the couple to get cold feet on the morning of the wedding, resulting in an explosive fight, pirates show up to take the guests hostage. Cue Tom and Darcy having to very rapidly learn some survival skills and put their personal squabbles aside so they can get help. 

Jennifer Lopez as Darcy and Josh Duhamel as Tom in Shotgun Wedding.

In terms of the premise and character types, Shotgun Wedding is in many ways similar to last year’s The Lost City. While the Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum-lead action movie had some fun moments, I can’t help but think that Shotgun Wedding is what The Lost City should have been. 

For Darcy and Tom, there’s much less wandering around the wilderness and more tense, fun and, honestly, silly action set pieces. Duhamel and Lopez seem to be having a lot of fun as they navigate their characters’ evolution from helpless couple to unexpected badasses, and I don’t use the term lightly.

There are certain things you go into Shotgun Wedding expecting – from the likeable turns of Lopez and Duhamel and their characters’ petty squabbling, to the magnificent comedy performance from Jennifer Coolidge. I didn’t expect a fair amount of blood and for Lopez to be running around holding an unexploded grenade. You can’t accuse Shotgun Wedding of not having high enough stakes. 

It was originally meant to be Ryan Reynolds playing the role of Tom, and with the Deadpool actor in the film the level of violence would have felt much more commonplace. With Duhamel playing the character as a very ordinary guy, though, it’s more surprising. And that’s to the movie’s credit. 

What begins as riotous fun does spiral out of control towards silliness as it nears the end, but it’s still an immensely entertaining action flick. Some of the dialogue may be a bit (or a lot) cheesy, but it’s delivered by an extremely likeable cast who are collectively doing a very good job. As a romcom, Shotgun Wedding provides two likeable leads with a good amount of depth, as well as some thoughts on getting through difficult times in relationships.

But, after having their wedding hijacked by pirates, I imagine Tom and Darcy have been through more than the average couple ever will.

Shotgun Wedding is streaming on Amazon Prime Video on 27th January.

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