Although we’re almost past the point of having the stench of death surround movies when they head directly to streaming, that assessment applies to “Shotgun Wedding,” which loads both barrels with Jennifer Lopez, late-replacement Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Coolidge and still fires blanks. The movie arrives in the US via Amazon, but even that invitation is worth declining.
Even for an action comedy, this Lopez-produced effort is inordinately skewed toward putting everything that might entice someone to watch in the trailer, beginning with the shot of Coolidge hoisting an automatic weapon to defend the wedding party. As hot as she is off “The White Lotus,” she can’t redeem the tiresome execution.
The film thus becomes perhaps most interesting for its behind-the-scenes footnote, which was the casting of Duhamel to replace Armie Hammer, who left the project in 2021 after problematic accounts regarding his interactions with various women. Those questions regarding his social-media posts were detailed in the recent docuseries “House of Hammer.”
The casting switch certainly isn’t the problem, although one can quibble with the math on Coolidge playing Duhamel’s mom. The larger misstep is stranding the cast in a beautiful locale (the Dominican Republic, standing in for the Philippines) and packing such a moth-eaten script for the trip.
Duhamel’s Tom, a baseball player, has planned every aspect of his destination wedding to Darcy (Lopez), which is set to take place on a private island. While the two are alone bickering – triggered by the arrival of her suave ex-boyfriend (Lenny Kravitz), who has shown up without having RSVPed – a group of heavily armed pirates show up, taking everyone else in the wedding party hostage.
The masked intruders (masks are a good idea given the movie’s merits) want Darcy’s wealthy dad (Cheech Marin) to sign over millions as payment. But he won’t until he knows Darcy is safe, as she and Tom awkwardly leap into Rambo mode, fighting a guerrilla war against the pirates while continuing to argue during their down moments.
Directed by Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect”), there are a few fairly impressive stunts (again, all of them in the trailer) sprinkled along the way, such as Darcy and Tom trying to zipline to safety. For the most part, though, this is a slapdash effort on most every level, seemingly sold almost entirely on the notion of watching Lopez run through the jungle in a tattered wedding dress.
Lopez’s last underwhelming marriage-themed rom-com, “Marry Me,” premiered simultaneously on the streaming service Peacock and in theaters, which underscores the challenging commercial landscape for this genre, setting quality issues aside.
While the movie will get a theatrical release in some territories outside the US, “Shotgun Wedding’s” streaming debut at least spares those responsible from one likely box-office indignity: Throwing a big, lavish party, and having almost nobody show up.