The Revision: Marry Me

Stasia is a famous pop star on the last night of her latest tour. She’s exhausted and facing a breakdown. When she sees a young man holding a sign saying “Marry Me” in the crowd, she takes it at face value and the two “marry” on stage and then have to navigate the fallout from fans and family while getting to know each other.

The cover of Marry Me Volume 1

Marry Me, written by Bobby Crosby with art Remy “Eisu” Mokhtar is a mid-00s webcomic that was published on Keenspot and it looks and reads exactly how you think it would. It’s fine. It’s fine in an aggressive way, even. Mokhtar’s art is manga-esque and Crosby’s writing comes across like he was just making this up as he went along. I only read the first volume (all of it is online) and implausible diversions, like a spontaneous trip to Africa, made me feel like no one knew where this was going beyond the initial premise. Vaguely vulgar humor takes a stab at “no, really, this is for adults” in a questionable way — Guy worries he’d be labeled as gay if he didn’t accept Stasia’s proposal and his best friend Parker, pees on herself. Yes, it’s that kind of comic. (At least the comic acknowledges that Stasia and Guy aren’t legally married.)

When it’s given some room to develop, Stasia and Guy’s relationship can be charming, but the emotional core is too often ignored in an attempt to draw out the plotline (Marry Me ran for several years).

Marry Me was essentially conceived as a movie. Crosby has more or less said that, pointing to how the early web address for the comic was All of that is fine — it’s a great pitch for a 90-minute rom-com.

The movie version of Marry Me (2022, directed by Kat Coiro) takes the overall basic concept — a pop star calls a man with a “Marry Me” on sign up on stage — and more or less gets rid of everything else. Well, Charlie (Owen Wilson) — renamed from Guy — still has a lesbian friend named Parker (Sarah Silverman) and has a job at a school (math teacher instead of guidance counselor) but that’s about it. Screenwriters John Rogers, Tami Sagher, and Harper Dill knew the potential of this idea and expanded on it.

I liked that Kat (Jennifer Lopez) — renamed from Stasia — was given an actual motivation to just on a whim get married to a random man in the audience. She was heartbroken and embarrassed to discover her fiance, Bastian (Maluma) was cheating on her right before they were due to wed at their very public wedding. Charlie agrees to it because the eyes were all on him and he seemed to genuinely feel for Kat.

They continue the relationship because Kat wants to see it through. She’s tired of being a joke. Charlie goes along with it because he’s just a decent human being. Watching their relationship develop is actually incredibly satisfying.

Lopez plays Kat’s loneliness and sorrow in such a sensitive way. She’s gorgeous and successful, sure, but that’s not enough for her. Owen’s befuddled charms work well for Charlie, who is out of his depth with all of this but finds his own adventurous spirit.

While Bastian shows up again, he’s not a cartoonishly villainous obstacle. Mostly, the conflicts between Kat and Charlie are just that they’re getting in their own ways rather than anything external. I also liked that, despite being about a famous pop star and a math teacher getting “married” on stage, this movie feels pretty grounded in the real world. There are no strange trips to Africa or anything overly ridiculous.

It’s still a rom-com, though, and if you’ve seen one, there are few surprises here. There doesn’t need to be. This movie knows the formula and delivers on it. Coiro’s direction is pretty much by the numbers but the musical numbers are stylish and there are a few, quirky fun touches. It’s a bit better than it needs to be.

Marry Me isn’t particularly like the comic, outside of sharing the same premise, but I think that’s a good thing. Yes, the comic wasn’t really for me, which is fine, but this shows how sometimes adapting means keeping what works and changing everything else.

This isn’t actually the absolute final post of The Revision but it’s the last one for a while. When I first made up my list, I always intended to end with Marry Me. Then several other movies got added at the end — some of which aren’t out yet (or in one case, the book was set to be released in December 2022 and got pushed to June 2023). There is also a movie I need to go back to and finish writing about.

I am going to take a short break and fill in some things on my Patreon and I hope when that’s done, some of these other movies may be out. I do think there is going to be a stopping point with this, though. Due to the rate of comics being adapted into movies and TV shows, I could quite possibly be doing this forever.

This was a lot of work but also an amazing amount of fun.