Jennifer Lopez as Darcy Rivera and Josh Duhamel as Tom...

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

MOVIE "Shotgun Wedding"

WHERE Streaming on Prime Video

WHAT IT'S ABOUT A riveting meditation on marriage and the wedding rites, sure to be an Oscar contender next year … oh, who are we kidding? "Shotgun Wedding" is exactly the movie you'd expect it to be after one look at the poster, in which Jennifer Lopez wields a shotgun and hunting knife while wearing a modified wedding dress and a bruised Josh Duhamel looks disheveled in his tux.

The icon and her co-star play Darcy and Tom, respectively, and their families have gathered for their nuptials on a resplendent island in the Philippines.

You've got the usual romantic comedy tropes serving as the exposition, including awkward meetings between the quirky families, the surprise appearance of an ex played by Lenny Kravitz, more than a touch of self-doubt on the part of both our heroes. You know, the expected stuff.

But wait! There are pirates, who storm the island on the day of the wedding and take the guests hostage. At the same time, and totally unaware, Darcy and Tom have a potentially relationship-ending fight. It's then up to the bickering couple to put the nonsense aside, fight back against the bad guys and save the day.

The director is Jason Moore, who knows his way around a broad comedy (his credits include the original "Pitch Perfect").

Most notable, though, is the supporting cast: Jennifer Coolidge, straight from "The White Lotus," Sônia Braga, Cheech Marin, the always funny D'Arcy Carden ("Barry"), Kravitz, and more.

MY SAY Critics love to use the phrase "check your brain at the door" before writing about movies like "Shotgun Wedding," which bears not the slightest resemblance to the real world in any sense but has all the trappings of a winning escapist fantasy.

We won't urge you to do anything with your brain here, as we detest clichés. But even a total powering down of all logical impulses cannot evade the truth that this movie violates one of the primary rules of comedy: don't try too hard.

There's a lot going on here.

A sense of desperation sets in as it becomes apparent that most everyone will frantically do whatever they have to do to wring a laugh out of you, the poor audience member. Busyness is a poor substitute for cleverness.

They'll scream and pout and get panicked, as if spitting out dialogue as fast as possible were the whole key to good humor; others will practically wink at the camera while dishing out one-liners. They'll also pose as action stars, racking shotguns, dropping grenades, wiping out bad guys in the kitchen and so much more.

Don't get us wrong: even if comedy isn't her strong suit, Lopez remains as fine of an actor as she is a singer. She's able to still credibly play real-ish people even after long-ago achieving mega-stardom. Plus, Coolidge saves entire swaths of "Shotgun Wedding." Her comic timing so surpasses all of her co-stars, it's as if she's in a different movie.

These are the elements that keep the picture from being as big of a disaster as the characters' wedding day. 

BOTTOM LINE Our advice: Watch the Jennifer Coolidge scenes and move on.

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