S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: I want to tell you my secret, now I seek.
S3: Soylent Green is people.
S4: No, I am the far.
S3: What’s in the box?
S4: You know, you’re not you’re blowing up, damn you all day. Oh.
S5: Hello and welcome to Slate Spoiler special podcast, I’m Dana Stevens Slate’s movie critic, and today I’m joined by Slate Staff Writer Heather Schwedel. Hey, Heather.
S2: Hi, Dana, thank you for having me.
S5: Yeah, this is going to be a fun, goofy one. Today we are spoiling Marry Me, which is the new romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, directed by Kat Kojirou. This is her first feature film. Kat career has mainly done television. Before this, I was sort of excited about this movie based on the extremely silly trailer that was really inescapable for a few weeks preceding it. I don’t know if you are. I know you’re a romantic comedy fan when they’re done well. Were you looking forward to this one, first of all? And did it disappoint or did it please?
S2: Overall, I was looking forward to this one. I thought that the concept seemed ridiculous, but not in a way that bothered me. I was just like, Yep, sure, OK. She marries a random person, but they’re going to make it work somehow. So I was excited for it. I think Jennifer Lopez made some famous rom coms many years ago, so it’s interesting for her to be returning to the genre. But I was a little disappointed by this movie. The thing that I thought I wouldn’t care about like, Oh, whatever that contrivance, they’ll make it work somehow with the screenwriting. I felt that they really did, and in a way that bothered me. Like, I keep thinking there is a way where they could have written it. So as she picked a random man in the audience to marry, and it sort of made some sort of sense, but they didn’t do that.
S5: I absolutely agree with the premise. Makes no sense whatsoever. That bothered me less than I thought it was going to bother me because the movie compensated in other ways with its charm and its chemistry. And just to me, the unusual ness also of a romantic comedy centered around two people over 50. You know, I mean, they may not look it because they’re incredibly attractive, but Owen Wilson is 53 and Jennifer Lopez is 52. And just that the fact that, like their romance was considered sort of juicy enough and sexy enough to be the center of a romantic comedy was in itself kind of something that pleased and surprised me. But I do think we should get as soon as possible to that premise you’re talking about because I want to hear how you think it could have been done better. I definitely agree that it could, and it said something. It must have happened in the writers room where, you know, they just knocked off early for the day when they came up with that plot twist because it seems very poorly thought through. But let’s get to that moment, which, as you say, that is the basic silly contrivance as all rom coms have, but especially silly in this ones case. At the heart of the plot, do you want to describe how Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson characters get together? And maybe, first of all, who they are
S2: so Jennifer Lopez in this movie is playing a character much like the real Jennifer Lopez, a global superstar named Kat Valdez. She’s not exactly the same in that Kat Valdez is, I think, only a singer and dancer. She’s not also an actress, but that the level of fame and sort of the type of music they make pop star is very similar. Oh, and she’s also been married several times and has had several high profile romances, as we know real Jennifer Lopez stars. So when the movie starts, she is engaged to sort of a hot young singer named Bastian, and their new single is Marry Me. And they’re planning this huge stunt, which is they’re going to have a live concert where they sing Marry Me, and then they get married live on stage in front of however many millions of viewers. So we’re at that concert and in the audience is Owen Wilson with his daughter and then a co-worker of his. They sort of ended up at the concert because Owen Wilson wanted his daughter to have a good time. He doesn’t really know who this person is, but he’s just a math teacher who doesn’t care about cool and stuff. So what happens is right before she’s supposed to go on stage in her wedding dress, Jennifer Lopez’s character finds out that Bastian has been cheating on her. There’s a video on Page Six, and apparently he was caught hooking up with her assistant, though just one of her assistants, because she has several other assistants in the movie that are not that persistent. So she’s about to go on stage and sort of no one knows what she’s going to do. He’s not even aware that she’s found out. And then instead of marrying him, she sort of gives this whole speech about how love isn’t real, but she’s going to take a risk anyway. And Owen Wilson is there standing in the audience, holding up a sign that I guess his daughter or his friend, who’s played by Sarah Silverman, had brought that says, Marry me just because that’s the name of the song they’re singing. But she sees this man holding the sign that says, Marry me and looks at him and she’s like, OK, I’ll marry you. And he knows that she’s talking to him. First of all, which in such a big concert, I don’t know how he would at all, be sure. And then he just walks up to the stage and they get married. And it’s not clear to me how real this marriage is. And he’s sort of doing it because, you know, he he can tell she’s in distress and he wants to be helpful in some way. But yes, it seems crazy, and then they’re sort of married, but not officially, but they, I guess, decide that they’re going to stay married for some reason for publicity. Kind of.
S5: That’s where that second step that doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, once you’ve established that she’s this kind of volatile star, right, who’s had all these tumultuous marriages, she’s almost like this Liz Taylor figure, right? Who the press sees as going through men in this kind or this
S2: Jennifer Lopez figure.
S5: Yeah, like Jennifer Lopez. Has Jennifer Lopez been married a bunch of times, or is it more like a lot of relationships?
S2: She has been married three times and also has had several high profile engagements. So she’s kind of in a similar situation, right?
S5: And the Jennifer been right reprise all these years later, et cetera. Yeah, so she is also known for her collecting men in a way. Right? And so it seems somewhat understandable that such an impulsive person who likes publicity and likes publicity stunts might engage in something like that out of, you know, revenge or the desire to at least put on some kind of show for all these fans that are waiting. What doesn’t make any sense whatsoever is that her whole publicity team led by Don Bradley’s character, I should say who I really like the her manager who seems to like somebody who’s very sympathetic to her, right? He’s really sorry that she had this moment of humiliation in public, but for some reason, she and her publicity team subsequently decide that it’s a great idea to pretend that she’s actually with this guy. But no one in the audience or the streaming viewers would think that anyway, because they all know that she was supposed to marry the character played by Maluma, right? The Bastian character. They know that she kind of reached out to a complete stranger in the crowd. So why would you need to create this verisimilitude of a relationship that everybody knows? What you really would want to do is double down on? Oh my god, look how incredibly impetuous she is, right? And then this is why I want to hear what your script doctoring would have been. Then you might have done something like, Oh, well, here’s what we’ll do for her publicity will pretend that they’re falling in love in this whirlwind way, even though they met on that night. Right? But they don’t really pretend that they sort of pretend that they’re legitimately in a relationship, which doesn’t even comport with the very visible beginning of the whole thing. So if suppose you had been in the writers room doing a polish on the script, what would you have done?
S2: First of all, are they or are they not married? Because one thing they also could have done is said, Well, they got married on stage, but we never actually filled out the paper, so they’re not actually married. That was just for I mean, but then there wouldn’t have been a movie at all.
S5: Perhaps they are vague about it, but I feel like somebody says it was not a legally binding marriage, and it doesn’t seem like it would be right. I mean, they didn’t even really say the proper vows. I feel like he never even kind of committed the Performative Speech Act of saying I do. He may have said, he said, OK, does okay count.
S2: Yeah, the man officiating on stage said, that’ll do. Or we’ll take that. Yeah, but later there’s reference to a pre-nup. Or I guess maybe that could refer to their like nondisclosure agreement. So there is paperwork signed later. But I don’t know. I think the fact that her manager just sent her on stage after having seen that Page Six video without even having a huddle with her to make a new plan is so odd to me. He was just like, OK, I don’t know what you’re going to do up there or like. Maybe he thought that she would just marry him anyway, because that would have been the easiest thing to do because they do frame this decision as some sort of like feminist thing that she’s not just going along with the plan and marrying this guy. She’s doing something different in a way that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
S5: Well, the feminist choice would have been she chooses herself, right? She doesn’t marry either one. And I guess this goes to a bigger problem with the movie that still didn’t keep me from enjoying it in a goofy way, which is that the characters are kind of sanded down, you know, like, everybody is too nice in a way. I not that I want a romantic comedy about mean people, but I mean, this is set in the world of show business, really high powered show business, right? It’s not really a show business satire. Not that it has to be that, but there’s just this gentleness toward everyone, which is very nice and very sweet. But because of that very generous tone toward all the characters in the script, you never really hear anybody critique anybody else’s choices, even though a lot of the choices are very poor. Right? I mean, there’s never a moment, and I was sort of waiting for it where in between these two characters who certainly have a very unusual relationship history, right where the power differential gets called out or where Owen Wilson starts to feel used right or where there’s not really a clear sense of whether he is just a pawn in her game, or he’s someone who matters to her and feel like he goes from being a hapless guy who’s kind of going along to get along to somebody who actually is starting to care about her, which I think is played believably between the two of them without any interim of just wait a minute. What’s happening right now is kind of messed up. And I really am right now very unclear on what my legal or romantic or any other status is vis-a-vis this woman.
S2: Yeah, I mean, you can believe that he’s a nice guy and wants to help out in some way, but it’s the motivation that maybe this will get him some funding for his math club really enough that he would like upend his whole life for this. I don’t think even that
S5: is not really his idea. There is this idea that later the his daughter and the Sarah Silverman character, his colleague at the school have yes, we can raise funds for the school through social media and sort of side story. To the two of them. Falling in love is that it’s also sort of a story of the modernisation of the Owen Wilson character, right? He starts off as this fogey who doesn’t use social media at all and has a flip phone and, you know, scorns the idea of going to this pop show. And it is in a way about his gradual, you know, acclimation to the modern world in a way which also brings him closer to his daughter, et cetera.
S2: I was just going to go back to the sanded down thing you said. I really agree, and I think it’s a similar problem to when a pop star produces a documentary about themselves or like, we just saw it with the Beatles and get back. And Paul and Yoko are sort of part of the production team. They’re going to have approval over it. And this is obviously not a documentary, but J.Lo is very involved in the making of this movie. I don’t know if she has some sort of producer credit, but a very powerful person on the movie and she’s playing this J-Lo like character. So so she wants her to be great and not a diva. And I think that the movie suffers for that. It makes her less interesting. The character is sort of a stand in for her, so that’s why, you know, she’s so like, nice and agreeable. And, you know, there’s a lack of interesting ness there. Yeah, I
S5: like of interrogation of her relationship to her own stardom. Right? I mean, there could be a moment, even if she continues to be a very sympathetic character, there could be a moment where we acknowledge or he acknowledges Owen Wilson’s character acknowledges that she’s kind of cut off from regular everyday life. And I talk about this in my review of the movie that there’s a videographer who follows her around all the time to make exactly one of those kind of documentaries you’re talking about her to for her social media feed. She just has a guy documenting her life at all times. And there’s a running joke about her needing to dismiss this videographer so that she can have any private conversation with Owen Wilson character, Charlie. And there’s several different times where he has to say, Could you? Could the videographer leave so we could have a conversation? The fact that somebody would be that cut off from everyday reality, which seems perfectly understandable. I can imagine such a scenario happening, right, if you were dating Beyonce or something like that, right? But Beyoncé would in that case, have a very different mindset than you about what it is to have a conversation or to be private, right? To have an intimate relationship. And that would be such a fascinating thing to explore, especially in a sort of a modern day post. Digital Notting Hill, right? I mean, this is essentially the Notting Hill premise, the classic rom com with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, but it’s happening in the age of social media and, you know, digital media and everything happening much faster and everything being known to the public much sooner. And so it seems like that the sweetness of that Notting Hill relationship needs to be complicated by, you know, the different kind of setting and the lack of privacy that it takes place in. And that doesn’t really happen in the movie, either. I think your comparison to those very puff piece style celebrity documentaries that are self-produced is a is a really good one. I hadn’t thought of that while watching the movie, but there’s a way in which we have to always feel that she is Jenny on the block, and she’s this down to earth person who is just one middle school dance away from, you know, figuring everything out. And that does a disservice to, well, to the movie’s dramatic, you know, content and interest, but also to the idea of thinking through, you know, what would it be to have this fantasy come true of being an ordinary mortal who falls in love with a movie star or a pop star in this case, and they fall in love with you? Right? I mean, the whole point of romantic comedy in a way is to take, you know, idealized visions like that and sort of take them apart and look at the complications. And then usually with most romantic comedies, put them back together happily at the end. But there’s not quite enough conflict in this movie for it to feel fully realized.
S2: Their love story is so just agreeable. I mean, it’s not passionate in any way, but it’s also just so, you know, like them hanging out and they kind of like each other, and it should have been so much more dramatic than that.
S5: Right. And funnier, too. I feel like those complications would have also introduced more opportunities for jokes. I mean, now as we’re talking about it, I’m thinking, why did I like this movie? Is it really just the agreeableness of the leads? But we’ll get back to that because right now we need to take a break. We’ll be right back after this. All right, Heather, so heading into the back half of this movie, I want to hear what strikes you as far as given that we’ve established there’s not quite enough conflict to really create a push and pull between the two of them. What stands out to you about the long road to love that these two take and marry me?
S2: Well, we get sort of the trope of the fake romance where you have two people that are doing all these things sort of for show. And the idea is over the course of doing them that actually they start to get to like each other. So they have all these sort of publicity like press hits that they’re supposed to do. They do have a press conference where Owen Wilson sort of shows himself to be, you know, actually, this guy has a bit of charm to him and this may work. And then they do all these little dates like they do a bowling day and they’re live streaming the whole time and just all these sort of, you know, prearranged ways for them to hang out. And then it starts to be like, OK, we’re done for the day you can leave, but they don’t want to leave because they’re starting to like it. I think maybe
S5: you’re touching on why I have a lot of tolerance for this movie, even though it is objectively preposterous, which is that it’s a hangout movie, really. You know, I mean, there really is a lot of slack time in the middle that’s just sort of spending time with these two charming, funny people enjoying each other’s company. And I do think the two of them have chemistry. I mean, as you say, it’s not like, you know, hot kind of Jennifer on Owen type chemistry. It’s a very family friendly movie almost to a fault. Right? I mean, there’s nothing anything like a sex scene in it. And as we said, it’s all very sweet and nice, and a lot of it takes place at a middle school, the place where he teaches and where he brings her in to meet his students and so forth, once again, completely unrealistic that a pop star would just sort of be able to walk into a middle school in New York, right? I think he’s supposed to be in Brooklyn.
S2: I think so
S5: and not have paparazzi and just have this sort of unproblematic unscheduled visit. But anyway, that part of the movie to me, if it works at all, is just because it seems to show a friendship developing between them. And once again, this goes back to me liking just the fact that they’re older. I sort of liked how mundane their relationship is for that middle stretch of the movie. You know, there is like a long period where she just sort of calls him from the road to sort of have some, you know, shoot the bull and have some conversation. And I like a romantic comedy where you see why the two people like each other. And in this case, in this movie, I think you do as outlandish as the way they get together is
S2: one of the biggest challenges this movie sets for itself was, for me, just the pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. Those are not names that I ever would have said in the same sentence. So the fact that they kind of do make it work, you know, is pretty impressive. I just didn’t think at all that they would go together, that someone like that would ever like someone like him. And, you know, obviously that’s the whole premise of the movie. But I was thinking about it, you know, is there another actor who would have worked better in this role? And I actually don’t think so. I think it was kind of right, even though, I mean, they got the shock value out of me thinking that it could never work between them, but I think they did get past that hurdle.
S5: Yeah, I mean, to me, not only does the casting work, OK, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone else doing that. Maybe if you can find somebody else as shambling, but I feel like Owen Wilson owns that space right now of kind of the cute, shambling leading man for romantic comedies. And it’s only casting that makes this movie work for me. If anything, you know, it’s the unlikeliness of that pair and the way that they each seem to suit where she’s playing herself, basically, or a variation of herself, right? And he is also playing a very familiar Wilsonian archetype. Right? I mean, I feel like he would almost never play the alpha in any relationship. He’s always going to be that, you know, puppy dog guy who’s a little bit the underdog. So that was that we kind of just coasted on really the charm and the chemistry between the two of them for me.
S2: Yeah. And so we get to see these scenes of her sort of coming into his world where she drops by the middle school and math club and sort of impresses everyone with her down to earth ness. And that’s sort of fun. So one of the things she does at Math Club is she’s teaching the kids, or she showed them some mistakes she once made in a performance and said that the thing that helped her was if she was dancing and focusing on her moves. She wouldn’t think too hard about the singing and she would get it right, and she tries to apply that concept to math. So if you just if you dance a lot while you’re doing math, you won’t mess up. And I don’t think that works at all for me, and it was funny to see the kids dancing and everything, but imagine trying to do math problems while dancing.
S5: Yeah, once again, that could have been a little script fix. All you had to do was have her say, we’re going to do a dance lesson first and then you’ll do your math. And then they would do better from having done it, but having to combine the two. Yeah, there was some choices in the script that was just sort of like, did someone from Mars just beam down and just add this plot twist that no. Human would actually think of, I think another weakness to the second half of the movie is that it starts to focus on subplots aside from those two characters. And I feel like the stuff about Owen Wilson’s daughter being distant from him. He has this young daughter, right? She seems to be about 12 or so, and it’s the beginning of the movie. It’s not that they’re estranged. Exactly. He has partial custody of her. He’s divorced from her mom, but she’s she seems completely uninterested in his company. And this story that I was talking about of him becoming cooler, right a little bit more connected to pop culture and social media ends up making her feel like, well, maybe my dad can change and brings us together. But then there’s just also this thing about the daughter’s self-confidence doing math, and I just felt like we were kind of in an after school special world where I didn’t really care. Do you agree? I mean, this movie was trying a little too hard to be sweet and to be appealing to families and kids in large groups of people, and it needed to have the courage of his convictions a little more and just have some edge.
S2: I totally agree that that daughter was such a generic movie character. You know that they really didn’t give her much that was unique to her. And I mean, that goes to like the corniness aspect of this movie. I can take a lot of corniness, and I think if that had just been one element of this show or whatever. There’s another heartwarming plot strand, but they were all corny or bland in some way. That coming together saying all that, I do think this movie is sort of fun. It’s just there’s so many things about it that are ridiculous. And I guess I thought it had a potential to be a really good romcom that was sort of squandered.
S5: Yeah, I kind of agree it had, you know, it had the cast, it had the kind of production values. It looks good. It moves relatively well. It’s not long or draggy, exactly. It’s just there’s not quite enough there and there’s not quite enough friction, you know, between the characters or between the viewer and the screen to create that much dramatic interest. What about the music? Because this is also seems like a movie that was designed perhaps cynically to launch a couple of pop hits and to actually showcase maybe Jennifer Lopez this next album. But at the very least, her next couple of singles and I found the music pretty catchy. In fact, I walked out singing to myself, Not Marry Me, the title tune, which appears twice in the movie song all the way through, right in different performance contexts. But the one that she sings during their separation montage, which is, you know, that classic third act romantic comedy moment where the two leads are separated. And you know, you would often hear a pop song on the soundtrack as you watch the mooning around separately. And this time you see her recording this pop song on my way. It’s called while the two of them are shown in their separation montage, and I thought that was a great song.
S2: There were a couple of songs in the movie I I really like to that that were not the main one. So when I first heard the the main single, first of all, isn’t there a Bruno Mars song called Marry Me? So I think they should have come up with a different title? Maybe, but or maybe it’s marry you anyway. I I just the idea that, you know, Sarah Silverman was kind of like bopping to this at the beginning, and she was saying to Owen Wilson character, You haven’t heard it, marry me. It’s the hot new song. It felt a little like. This is not actually that good a song or when people would be into like when you think of things that young people think are cool is singing Marry Me, Marry Me, oh it it, it seems a little. I didn’t love that one. But it does. It is catchy in the sense that that’s the one that has been in my head, even though it was not my favorite. And I think the the Bastian character who is played by also a real pop star, she is really fun. I kind of wish there had been more of him. And if he’s sort of the villain, but he’s not that evil, he’s just kind of not there, but he’s a good performer and he. They’re their duets are fun. I think that their performance together. So I think some of the pop star elements it it did get right, but I wish Marry Me had been a stronger song and. The other ones I liked, but I don’t know if I think they’re that memorable.
S5: Yeah, it was. I mean, I don’t listen to this kind of music in the first place, so I don’t really have a sense of what will or will not climb the charts. But the only one that climbed the charts of my mind really was that one from the third act, and part of it was just her delivery. I mean, Jennifer Lopez is just she’s great to watch sing. I mean, she’s not somebody whose music. I followed enough that I can even name more than a couple of her songs. But this made me feel like it would be fun to go see her live because she really does have that diva like command when she sings and just that scene of her recording the the On My Way song toward the end gave me that, you know, surging romantic feeling that you’re supposed to get from a pop song. And at that point in the movie, I was just craving it. I think because the movie doesn’t give you that feeling quite often enough.
S2: Yeah, I definitely flashback to her Super Bowl performance in the concert. I mean, before that tragic moment of her like having this little meltdown on stage, she’s doing some of the concert and there’s that whole thing where she’s like, Is she dressed like a cross? And like her backup singer?
S5: Yeah, right? Which seemed like a little bit of a parody at that point. I thought maybe the movie was going to go down a parody road that seemed like it would be fun, because that was like a parody of. To me, those Madonna videos where, you know, there’s all kinds of Catholic imagery, but because of the aforementioned niceness, it never really took that road.
S2: But it would have been cool if this movie had a great soundtrack. What’s an example like that thing you do or something where the song itself just is perfect and works and, you know, elevates the whole thing? But I guess it’s obviously hard to write that sort of song.
S5: Well, R.I.P. Adam Schlesinger, I have to say they’re the Fountains of Wayne songwriter who wrote that amazing song which carries that whole movie. He actually died of COVID like early in the COVID crisis. And I remember thinking when he was gone, you know, there goes all the realistic pop songs for movies about pop music because he was the one who was always able to make them work.
S2: Yeah, definitely. I think this movie probably could have benefited from his talents. The moments we get to see if J.Lo performing are fun. I mean, she’s a triple threat known or she’s the original triple threat. So you do get to see her sing, dance and act. And if you’re a J.Lo fan, I think that’s what you want to see.
S5: Heather, I’m going to stop you for a moment for a quick word from our sponsor. This is also based on a graphic novel, isn’t it?
S2: Yeah, I read that too. It’s based on a webcomic, which I found surprising that I briefly looked up the webcomic. It’s not one that I had been familiar with, but this doesn’t. I guess I don’t know anything about webcomics, but this doesn’t strike me as a very webcomic story.
S5: Yeah, I’m not familiar with the webcomic, either, but having read up on it a little bit, it looks like there were some serious changes made for the movie, which have made it less credible. For one thing, it seems like in the comic. The guy who marries the pop star is a fan that he’s you know that he actually is this diehard fan who’s seeking an autograph. I mean, you could believe more easily that somebody would go along with this fake marriage. And with shambling along on these these fake PR opportunities, if they were a mega fan of the star. You know, it’s sort of like at the beginning, there’s not quite enough in it for him, except being a nice guy who doesn’t want to see her hurt, you know, as to as to why he would give up so much of his life to come along on the charade
S2: in the press conference scene, when he starts to sort of make little jokes about how you know, Oh, I’m so lucky to be here. She’s so beautiful. That’s nice. But yeah, you wish that there was something else about her other than like, well, she she is quite lovely.
S5: So yeah, it’s almost as if he would be a nice guy to anyone. You know, he’s no nicer or less nice to her than he would be to somebody who I don’t know he was helping across the street or something like that. He’s just this general Boy Scout sweet guy, which is very nice. But yeah, that’s what I mean about friction sort of or just texture, you know, the sort of what would it be about the two of each other besides their mutual niceness that they would like about each other? Yeah. Once again, I’m sort of marveling that I enjoyed this movie, and I think when it comes to a certain kind of glossy romcom, I just have low standards, especially in winter, in the middle of winter, in a pandemic. I just want a movie like this so much to be good, and these are really hard to do, right? These kind of movies, there’s really a lot that has to go right. The chemistry, the writing, you know, not hitting so many of the formulaic clichés that we’re talking about, but this movie has just enough to keep it afloat. That still, I feel like if you’re just craving that feeling, it does deliver some kind of hit of it. Would you agree with that?
S2: Oh, yeah, for sure. And it was out for Valentine’s Day, and I think that gives it a lot of added momentum to because you want a movie to watch Valentine’s Day weekend.
S5: Yeah, I actually co reviewed this movie with another rom com that was opening Valentine’s Day weekend for the same reason, I’m sure, which was, I want you back the Charlie de Jenny Slate pairing. And to my surprise, on paper, I would have said, Oh, that probably sounds more at my alley, right? Like slightly more indie cast. I don’t know. It seemed. And Jenny Slate, I’m a huge fan. I thought that that was going to be the better of the two romantic comedies. And as it turned out, I was kind of more swept up by Marry Me, although both of them had their kind of mild charms. I don’t suppose you saw I want you back yet, have you?
S2: I actually did watch it as well. I think I liked that one better, but the thing this marry me had going for it is it was a big screen romcom, even though I watched it on the small screen. But to be watched on a big screen, ideally and sort of an event and like fun and big in all those ways and I Want You Back is very streaming. If you’re looking for that exciting, fun theater experience, Marry Me does have more of an excitement to it, I think.
S5: Yeah, I’d sparkles. I mean, it literally is sparkly, right? Like somebody’s always wearing a crystal embedded gown?
S2: Well, right. Her wedding dress was great. I guess I wasn’t that struck by the fashion in this movie. She wears many, many outfits, but the wedding dress was cool and you do get to see some cool clothes.
S5: It’s one of those sparkly, cushy kind of atmosphere, movies and mood movies much more than a story movie. The last thing I want to touch on before we sign off is just the supporting performances, because you mentioned something about liking Sarah Silverman’s character, but wanting her to have a plot. And I kind of feel the same about John Bradley, the manager character. Who is this actor not having watched Game of Thrones that I wasn’t familiar with. And then two weeks in a row in Moonfall, a ridiculous yet to me, extremely enjoyable movie and this ridiculous, yet enjoyable movie. He kind of steals every scene that he’s in. I love John Bradley. I’d love to see him get a bigger storyline in this.
S2: Yeah, I like him to have more to do. I don’t think he stole any scenes in this movie because he he was sympathetic. They didn’t want to make him, you know, evil or comical in some ways, but that it just goes back to the sanded down thing like couldn’t have been something or had some sort of funny thing. I like that he didn’t fall in love with the Sarah Silverman character that we’re past, that, you know, everyone must pair up at the end. Right?
S5: Well, she’s supposed to be gay also is specified, but she could have gotten her own love story. She could have gotten a lesbian romance, and she didn’t.
S2: Yeah, and at the beginning she was sort of at the concert to begin with as a revenge thing. But I guess that sort of fell away that plotline.
S5: Oh yeah, that’s true. Well, she had nothing to do but support the Owen Wilson character and his daughter, which kind of again goes back to sanded down edges and Sarah Silverman was sanded down edges is just not. Sarah Silverman writes She has to have that sort of like, you know, that bratty mean streak, that’s part of what makes her funny, and
S2: she always seemed to be at his house conveniently like, did they live together? She did have one scene where she sort of got to joke with the paparazzi waiting outside, but that was the most you got of her.
S5: Yeah, that’s another thing that this movie needed was just more crisscrossing storylines. Give us more. Right? It should be almost Shakespearean with like these braided relationships and different people pairing up in different ways. But in closing, because you have to do this with a romantic comedy after the separation montage, after the miserable period where they can’t be together, do you want to talk about how things finally come together for this wildly unlikely couple
S2: things cool, somehow between Kat and Charlie. There’s, I guess, sort of not talking as much, and maybe it seems like the arrangement is going to end. And then Kat while she’s on the Jimmy Fallon show because we have the NBC Universal cross-promotional machine at work there.
S5: Oh my God. And the coach bag product placement, I just have to say, was really shameless, literally wheeling in a big rack of them and the little girl wants this ugly coach bag. It made no sense. Anyway, go on.
S2: There were several moments like that that seemed ad supported. She gets wind of the factor. She remembers that, oh, the big back competition is in today in Peoria, Illinois, and she decides that she has to go there in person. And it’s important to do things like a normal person because that’s what Charlie would respect. So she has to take a plane like a normal person and go to the airport and buy a ticket like a normal person. And even though they’re out of tickets and she doesn’t really know how to do that or so she winds up on a plane to either Chicago or Peoria. It’s unclear, and she’s sitting with the normal people on the plane and she says champagne for everyone. And the stewardess says, Actually, we don’t have champagne. We can give everyone Michelob lights and ham. And she asks someone to buy a coke because she’s going there completely unprepared, but she makes her way to the mass competition. And I guess there had been this idea that Owen Wilson daughter needed to gain confidence and she had choked in a previous math competition. So she has her crucial moment of trying to answer a math question, and she uses the Kat Valdez trick of dancing to help her remember. And she does remember, but not in time, so they lose the math competition. But I guess Charlie is just so touched that she showed up that it reunites them and they’re kind of back together in this very wholesome way. Not many movies like this and at a math competition in Peoria, Illinois.
S5: I have to say, though, that the down-home ness of her voyage to Peoria was somewhat undercut by the fact that she used her own celebrity at the airport to get the ticket, didn’t she? I mean, it wasn’t a Do you know who I am? Moment she was nice about it, but she essentially sort of got somebody else’s ticket right, bought it out from under them or something like that.
S2: Yeah. She wanted to. And then someone told her it was illegal. But yes, that’s what it was sort of happening with all of that.
S5: Right. Had she not been famous, she wouldn’t have gotten on the plane or had the money to buy the person’s coat or whatever, which is yet again a place where, you know, celebrity was just not really critiqued or looked at with very much perspective in this movie.
S2: It’s funny. You know, the airport is such a classic romantic comedy thing, and it even has our airplanes has its moment in in the other movie you mentioned, I want you back. So that romcom staple remains with us.
S5: That’s true. It’s true. I mean, essentially, her going to Peoria is a long distance version of the running across town. You know, when Harry met Sally moment where you’ve got to run to your beloved. All right. I think it’s really reflecting poorly on my character that I still liked this movie, and I can’t necessarily in good conscience send people to it. But I will say that if what we just said sounds at all appealing and you do kind of like that, you know, just that big, glossy, dumb romcom feeling, it is not the worst place to get it at the moment. It is sort of the only new place to get it. So I might with those reservations, send listeners to watch Marry Me.
S2: Yeah, I think I’m with you there. I mean, maybe some of the fun of rom coms is also talking about how ridiculous they are. So if you go see this one with your friends afterwards, I think you will have a ball just talking about it. Like that thing was so crazy and that was so crazy. So, you know, that’s an added bonus. Maybe?
S5: Yeah, you certainly. You wouldn’t want to watch a romcom where they met in the most predictable and mundane way. Right? I mean, it’s not a rom com if it’s just sort of like, well, friends introduced us in college and we slowly got to know each other. There’s not a movie there, so this movie takes it a little bit too far as far as pushing the premise. But I don’t know. I still I still respect the game. All right. Well, Heather, I hope you’ll come back next time and. Talk about a better romantic comedy with me in the near future.
S2: Yes, me too, this is very fun.
S5: That does it for this week’s show, please subscribe to the Slate Spoiler special podcast feed. And if you like the show, please read it and review it in the Apple Podcast store or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you have suggestions for movies or TV shows we should spoil in the future or any other feedback to share. You can send it to spoilers at Slate.com. Our producer is Jasmine Ellis are senior managing producer is June Thomas. For Heather Schwedel. I’m Dana Stevens. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you again soon.