Shotgun Wedding, by Albert W. Vogt III

This past weekend had nothing remarkable released, so I did not go to the cinema.  It was just as well.  It was my birthday weekend and I felt like I had much better things to do than to sit through Infinity Pool.  Then again, the same could be said for today’s film, Shotgun Wedding (2022).  Why the different premier year, you may ask, if it came out with the past few days?  Because, as I have learned recently, if a movie is to be considered for an award of any kind, it must have a theatrical run.  This apparently happened at the end of December . . . in Singapore.  If that does not tell you practically everything you need to know about this run-of-the-mill film, then by all means, continuing reading.

There are many traditions surrounding nuptials that deal with bringing the soon-to-be newlyweds good fortune, and Shotgun Wedding contains many of them.  Still, I do not know if there is one that applies to being late for a rehearsal dinner.  That is what groom Tom Fowler (Josh Duhamel) is while bride Darcy Rivera (Jennifer Lopez) deals with the guests for their destination wedding in the Philippines.  He is not there at the moment because he is trying to put the finishing touches on what he hopes will be a perfect day.  Meanwhile, she is confronted with her family and future in-laws, all of whom are the requisite amount of crazy for these kinds of films.  They are largely unimportant, and will be introduced as needed.  Among the people who arrive that are not family is Sean Hawkins (Lenny Kravitz).  He is Darcy’s ex-fiancé, and the person her father, Robert Rivera (Cheech Marin), prefers for his daughter over Tom.  Indeed, Robert is the one who made sure Sean comes despite Sean not sending an RSVP.  Later that night, after Tom finally puts aside his fussing over table arrangements and gives in to Darcy’s advances, the mood is killed when he asks why it did not work out with the evidently more popular Sean.  Her answer is vague enough, something about not “feeling right,” to set off alarm bells in Tom’s head.  On the morning of the ceremony, with the usual hustle and bustle of such events, Darcy suddenly feels she needs to talk to Tom.  You know that thing about not seeing your spouse for a day before your wedding?  These people ignore that notion, and soon their marriage is falling apart before it starts.  She never wanted a big wedding in the first place and feels like he is not listening to her.  Meanwhile, he is threatened by her family and Sean, and has been trying to prove himself to all of them.  As they are arguing, pirates come and take over the island.  Their timing is convenient for Darcy and Tom since they are not with the rest of the guests.  Unfortunately for them, they are herded into a pool where the pirates begin making their demands.  They seem to have a knowledge of the people they have under their sway, specifically asking for Robert, who has made money for himself as a businessman.  He refuses to cooperate unless he has Darcy returned to him.  Speaking of her, through a series of missteps and dumb luck, they manage to escape capture.  Because this is meant to be a comedy, instead of focusing on survival they begin arguing about aspects of their relationship, you know, because life or death situations are great comedic fodder.  Ultimately, Tom takes the blame for their problems, feeling like he has not listened to Darcy’s needs for some time.  To make amends, he gives himself up at one point so that she could remain hidden.  Thus captured, they take Tom back to be with the other guests under armed guard.  Doing so brings Tom into contact with Sean, and it is here that Tom is able to reveal that Sean is on the plot.  Not only that but Robert’s new girlfriend Harriet (D’Arcy Carden) is Sean’s accomplice.  With the truth now revealed, Sean goes after Darcy, but she manages to slip in with the rest he is looking for her.  Reunited with Tom, they decide to convince the remaining pirates to let them go ahead with their nuptials.  This turns out to be a ruse to overpower the pirates, which works, after a fashion.  Darcy and Tom’s next move is to head to the dock, get a boat, and go for help. This is when Harriet and Sean catch up with them.  Sean is protesting that all he wants to do is talk, despite saying these things while shooting at them.  Meanwhile, Harriet circles overhead in a helicopter with a weapon of her own trained on the proceedings below.  The boat that Darcy and Tom eventually get into is one designed to pull a parasailer, and, of course, Sean and Tom manage to get themselves aloft.  Tom is the first to make it back down to Darcy, using her fake hair to safely slide back to the deck.  Once there, Darcy and Tom cut the cake, er, I mean rope, and the parachute goes into the helicopter, killing our two villains.  Anyone else might be too exhausted by these trials to go through with their planned wedding.  The venue had not changed, but the participants, a little battered and bloodied, profess their vows.  If you must stay until the bitter end, as the credits roll there are shots of the reception and people generally having a good time despite their recent ordeal.

Lately, my Faith life has reminded me of the importance of reflecting Jesus in all that I do, and this applies to writing a review of Shotgun Wedding.  I have a tendency to default to snarky, and I am sure I have already injected some of that attitude into this review.  Sarcasm is not something God calls anyone to give.  Yes, there is nothing too original about this movie.  Then again, that applies to the overwhelming majority of what Hollywood churns out these days.  Those who gave us this latest piece tried hard, I am sure, and God bless them for making an effort.  I could talk about the fact that there is a great deal of implied premarital sex in the film, which is a no-no to the Catholic Church.  That would also be unoriginal, this time on my part.  Darcy and Tom fool around on their wedding day and look what happens.  Okay, that is an extreme case, but it points to a set of customs around weddings that amount to superstition.  Put differently, they are not of God.  At the same time, there is something wise said about marriages in general, and it is that they are not perfect.  There is nothing perfect this side of Heaven, and we should remember this next time we are having trouble with our spouse.  Who knows, maybe you will need them next you are attacked by pirates?

So, here is to being somewhat charitable towards films like Shotgun Wedding.  I suppose, if nothing else, it is not a literal version of what the name suggests.  That is something, anyway, for this Catholic.  Finally, it spared me of whatever is Infinity Pool.


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