The Collin-Denton Spotlighter is taking a look at some of the top movies to hit popular streaming services in recent days. We’ll be reviewing those movies not only by traditional standards, but by how well they hold up as quality streaming options for a comfy night in with a bowl of microwave popcorn.
Find out if Amazon Prime’s action-packed rom-com Shotgun Wedding is a blast or a bust in The Collin-Denton Spotlighter’s latest streaming review.
The Spotlight Review
There are streaming movies and there are direct-to-DVD movies. Somewhere between the two, a line is drawn. Let’s call it the Sandler parallel.
On one side of the Sandler parallel are the legitimately great movies which didn’t make theaters for one reason or another, oftentimes because of a lack of big money support or pandemic-era changes in filmgoing, mixed in with a bunch of moderately big-name movies that streaming services flushed with cash have gobbled up as exclusives lately. Those are the films worth your time, oftentimes regardless of whether or not they’re the greatest thing since Citizen Kane.
On the other side of the Sandler parallel, we get the movies made by C and D-level actors and celebrities, has-beens or cheap studios. It feels like there’s about a 50/50 chance Steven Seagal is in them. Whether they actually release on streaming or not, they’re the kind of movies that the local Walmart should be sandwiching between copies of National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation, not what you want to be spending your Saturday night on.
In the middle, right on that line in-between, is Adam Sandler’s contract with Netflix and Shotgun Wedding.
Shotgun Wedding is a frustratingly confused movie. With a painfully stilted script guiding a rather smartly assembled cast through a variety of low-budget wannabe Die Hard sequences, it’s the kind of movie that oftentimes looks more enjoyable at a passing glance than it is to sit and watch. It’s right on the edge of being a fun and quirky action-comedy and being a total dud, never quite landing on one or the other.
A lot of that has to do with the premise, a legitimately bemusing, if a tad cliché, setup that has a way of creating a few legitimate laugh-out-loud moments despite dialogue more wooden than Disney’s remake of Pinocchio.
Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel play the soon-to-be-married Darcy and Tom who have gathered their loved ones in the Philippines for their destination wedding. Arguments between the bride and groom quickly ensue, primarily over the appearance of a surprisingly game Lenny Kravitz as Darcy’s uninvited ex Sean and the couple’s conflicting desires over the size of their wedding. Darcy and Tom must quickly brush those arguments aside and spring into action though once pirates kidnap their entire wedding party.
In other words, it’s a rom-com by way of Rambo. It’s a surprisingly effective genre clash that leads to moments which feel tacky, Darcy and Tom bickering over whether to use a net or hairspray to subdue a pirate, but actually land more often than not.
In more capable hands, that would’ve gone a long way towards making Shotgun Wedding a success. Add in scene-stealing performances from the likes of the aforementioned Kravitz as well as Cheech Marin and Jennifer Coolidge and Shotgun Wedding might’ve had a shot at being a surprise hit.
It’s a shame that Jason Moore’s direction is so often off target then. The action sequences feel stale and rehashed when they’re not going for laughs.
A lot of those laughs would land better more subtly too. Moore pulls the worst kind of overacting out of Lopez and Duhamel, the kind that reminds you of their less-than-successful past escapades. A recurring gag about Darcy’s inability to look at blood is particularly cringeworthy, causing Lopez to faint like she’s in some third-rate silent film at one point.
It doesn’t help that the camera finds a way of awkwardly wandering around at inconvenient angles, giving the appearance that Moore dubbed over the dialogue in some scenes even when it’s not immediately clear if he did or didn’t.
The total effect is that of a cheesy dollar store find rather than a hyped release on one of the biggest of the streaming giants, especially when combined with Mark Hammer’s oftentimes groan-inducing writing. Shlocky dialogue isn’t exactly shocking in a rom-com, but it should never come at the expense of an individual performance or the plot as a whole.
Coolidge, in particular, feels like an unnecessary casualty of Hammer’s pen. She’s so perfectly cast as Tom’s eccentric mother that it’s almost shocking the number of times her lines only induce a chuckle at best.
There’s also not enough heart or characterization written into the movie to make it a legitimately touching rom-com. Viewers don’t really have a reason to care about Tom and Darcy’s marriage. The chemistry between the two outside of combat situations is almost nonexistent, leading the film in an action-comedy route that really never excels at the action part.
Instead, Shotgun Wedding simply rides the line between its mixture of genres, making it a scattershot effort that settles too often for mediocrity when it should be shooting a bit higher.
Spotlight Score: 5/10
Skip or Stream
There’s enough to like in Shotgun Wedding that it’s not a total skip. It’s concise hour and 42-minute runtime is right on mark and leaves little room for the movie to ever truly cross into that direct-to-DVD territory. If you’re a true fanatic of rom-coms or just need something light to watch in-between the nightly chores, Shotgun Wedding is serviceable enough to get the job done as long as you realize what you’re signing yourself up for.
Shotgun Wedding has its moments, whether those come with Lopez and Duhamel coming up with comedic ways to take down a villain or a scene stealer from the unexpectedly tight cast, but it ultimately misses the mark too often to be a hit.