This destination wedding is sure to be an event to remember – mostly because it gets hijacked by pirates before the bride and groom can make it down the aisle. 

Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel star in Shotgun Wedding, a new rom-com from Prime Video.

Shotgun Wedding takes place during the nuptials of Darcy (Lopez) and Tom (Duhamel). But the stress of planning and executing the perfect destination wedding has put some stress on the happy couple… And of course, that’s before their guests get rounded up and held hostage. With the lives of their family and friends at risk, Darcy and Tom must work together to outwit the pirates and save their wedding.

Shotgun Wedding gets off to a rough start…

First things first, my biggest complaint about Shotgun Wedding is that it takes WAY too long to pick up speed. The movie’s hook is that it’s a rom-com about pirates hijacking a wedding. So, it’s a bit frustrating that we have to wait so dang long to get to the part where the pirates actually show up to do the hijacking. (It takes something like 25 minutes – nearly a third of the film’s total runtime.)

Instead of beginning the film at the actual wedding, it starts the day before at the rehearsal dinner. Clearly it’s an effort to give the viewer a chance to meet the characters and learn about their problems before the action kicks off. But it’s extremely drawn out, to the point where everything feels redundant and unnecessary. 

Before the pirates crash the party, there’s an entire rehearsal dinner, an extended scene of the bride-and-groom-to-be getting ready for bed, a morning-of getting ready scene, and a pre-wedding dramatic argument scene – all essentially conveying the same plot and character information. I was begging this movie to just get to the point already. (It also didn’t help that this stretch of the movie is also the least funny.)

Jennifer Lopez as Darcy Rivera and Josh Duhamel as Tom Fowler in Shotgun Wedding. Photo Credit: Ana Carballosa

But eventually, our pirates finally arrive to crash the wedding, take the guests hostage, and demand a hefty sum from father of the bride Robert (Cheech Marin). Then Shotgun Wedding does a better job of finding its footing.

…but mostly turns things around in the back half

Once the movie rolls out some serious antagonists (of a more high-stakes variety – Darcy’s ex Sean, played by Lenny Kravitz, turns up to stir up some drama earlier), Shotgun Wedding does a better job of moving the story along and getting laughs. Darcy and Tom as the “average Joes” having to outwit and out-maneuver the pirates leads to some fun moments.

Overall I would describe Shotgun Wedding as fairly “middle of the range” funny. Some gags land, some don’t. But there were a few big standout, laugh-out-loud moments for me: J.Lo wrestling an attacker on the ground, using her best Strict Customer Service Voice (“Sir. Sir. Give me the grenade, sir.”), for example, or every time Jennifer Coolidge’s character cheerfully offered up her ex-husband to the pirates. Honestly, I don’t know that Marin or Coolidge had quite enough to work with, given their long-standing comedic reputations. But it was nice to see D’Arcy Carden getting to have some fun with her character.

Outside of the whole pirate-hostage-situation thing, Shotgun Wedding plays as a fairly standard rom-com. Couple fights, couple resolves their problems over the course of the movie, couple gets back together, stronger than ever. The movie also throws some twists our way. (They may be obvious, but hey, I like that there’s an effort to shake things up here.)

If you’re patient enough to drag yourself through the beginning of this one, you can have a pretty good time. And provided the team learns their lesson about getting to the action hijinks sooner, this is a premise with great franchise potential. (Shotgun Anniversary! Shotgun Birthday, Shotgun Baptism, Shotgun Trip to IKEA! I could do this all day.)

Shotgun Wedding begins streaming on Prime Video January 27.

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