‘Shotgun Wedding’ Shoots Blanks ~ At The Movies With Kasey
A little comedy, a little action, just a smidge of romance, Shotgun Wedding, out now on Amazon Prime, tries to deliver a classic romcom with a twist. In the movie, Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) planned an extravagant destination wedding for their big boisterous families. Well, really Tom planned it, too many Pinterest-inspired projects and all. When pirates hijack their celebration, the pair must overcome tension in their relationship to save their loved ones from the criminals.
It is outrageous that Jennifer Coolidge was cast as Josh Duhamel’s mother, but she steals any scene she graces. Also unbelievable, D’Arcy Carden as Harriet, Darcy’s father’s (Cheech Marin) yoga teacher-turned-girlfriend. Somehow Lenny Kravitz was talked into appearing as Darcy’s ex-fiancé, Sean. A lot of this movie goes big without landing the joke. For example, JLo runs around in an increasingly tattered wedding dress, but the gag is nowhere near as funny as Sandra Bullock’s pink jumpsuit in The Lost City. Later, Darcy aims a machine gun at her own family and, even in this context, it is just not funny. The sight of Coolidge with a machine gun—well, that is.
Despite many flaws and barely any romance, Shotgun Wedding is a lot of fun. A recurring joke about Tom’s plans having too many steps establishes backstory between Darcy and Tom, as do the many Pinterest crafts. Duhamel and Lopez have sufficient chemistry and Duhamel’s awkward, anxious take on his character makes him the most realistic part of the story. Lopez has an unreasonable amount of charm—and upper body strength—so she can make even this schlock a lot of fun to watch.
Shotgun Wedding was written by Mark Hammer and directed by Jason Moore. It runs 100 minutes and is rated R.
Narvik: Hitler’s First Defeat tells the story of a small Norwegian town home to an abundance of iron ore that Hitler needed to build heavy weaponry. Violating Norway’s neutrality, Germany made a move on the town, and they fought back. Headed to battle, a young soldier, Gunnar Tofte (Carl Martin Eggesbø), leaves behind his wife, Ingrid (Kristine Hartgen), and young son, Ole (Christoph Gelfert Mathiesen). The story of their family’s love represents the experiences of the Norwegian people and, more broadly, families torn apart during wartime.
It would be easy to brush Narvik off as just another World War II movie, but the pairing of the human drama and a lesser-known battle makes this story compelling. The parts focused on the twists and turns of battle begin to drag, but I continually hoped that the Tofte family would survive and find each other again. The performances by Carl Martin Eggesbø and Kristine Hartgen draw out the complexities of Gunnar and Ingrid’s respective positions, as each is highly vulnerable in their own way. Their chemistry and the strength of their individual performances carry the story.
The last half hour of Narvik also delivers a nuanced take on survival. Gunnar finds motivation throughout the battle in nationalism and a sense of fighting for his home, but ultimately the story pits family against country in an ambiguous stance that offers no easy answers. The writing delivers these thoughtful touches while also bringing the story to a satisfying if sad conclusion. I learned something, too.
Narvik was written by Christopher Grøndahl, Live Bonnevie, and Erik Skjoldbjærg, who directed. It runs 1 hour 48 minutes and is rated TV-14.
I am eagerly awaiting the return of Alaska Daily, on ABC and Hulu, after a long mid-season break. Starring Hilary Swank and focusing on missing and murdered indigenous women, the show is like a combination of Shonda Rhimes and Aaron Sorkin’s work. Swank plays Eileen Fitzgerald, a hotshot reporter whose career melts down spectacularly. She moves to Alaska to do some short-term reporting but gets engrossed in a string of missing person cases and charmed by her fellow reporters, Roz (Grace Dove), Jieun (Ami Park), Austin (Craig Frank), Gabriel (Pablo Castelblanco), and Claire (Meredith Holzman). With the encouragement of editor Stanley Cornick (Jeff Perry), Eileen sees how vital the local paper is to the community.
Created by Tom McCarthy, Alaska Daily showcases Hilary Swank’s considerable talents, and the ensemble cast provides rich performances that build out the newsroom with enough subplots and interesting people that each episode can showcase a different reporter while also highlighting the real-life tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women. At times, the story gives in too much to melodramatic impulses, but it left on such a big cliffhanger that I keep checking when the show will be back from break.
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