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Marry Me (2022) and the 20-Year Trend Cycle
Jennifer Lopez hasn’t aged — and neither have rom-coms.
by Taylor Malone
About a month ago, Patrick and I sat down at our local AMC to watch The Matrix Resurrections. We had just gotten a great deal that prompted us to become Stubs A-List members for the next 3 months, so we have been trying to go see as many movies as we can while we remain members.
Then, I saw it. The trailer for Marry Me. And I have continued to see it multiple times a week for the past month.
If you’re anything like me, especially if you’re a girl that was born in the late 90s or early 2000s, then you know how excited I was when I saw this trailer for the first time. As a woman in my early twenties, I am in a phase of life where I often look toward nostalgia to help me with life’s toughest obstacles. I find comfort in reliving my youth through tv shows, movies, and even fashion — and I’m lucky because the late 90s and early 2000s are back in full swing.
I’m not a trend expert, but I do know one important thing: The 20 Year Trend Cycle. This phenomenon is based on the fact that the trends you’re seeing today are almost always a revival of twenty years prior. We are seeing this big-time right now in the fashion world. Y2K is back in all of its low-rise jeans glory (that’s a whole other article).
It was about 20 years ago (or for Maid in Manhattan, exactly 20 years ago) that Jennifer Lopez was the star of some of my favorite romance movies. I grew up watching The Wedding Planner and Monster-in-Law on repeat with my mom, so when I saw the trailer for Marry Me starring J-Lo AND Owen Wilson, it felt like I had gotten into a time machine and was suddenly sitting on my childhood couch in my favorite Limited Too pajamas (too niche?).
In addition to my adoration for J-Lo, I absolutely love Owen Wilson. I always have. In a way, he’s a great person to explain the evolution of my film taste. When I was little, I watched Wedding Crashers and found it funny. Then, I became a pretentious tween who studied French and obsessed over Midnight in Paris. Now, I’m a pretentious adult who knows slightly less french but who owns every Wes Anderson film on Criterion and listens to the “Wes Anderson Songs” playlist on Spotify every day on my way to work. It’s called evolution.
All joking aside, I really love these two, and I had very high expectations for this movie because of the deep love I have for this era in film they’re pulling from. And the movie did not disappoint.
The songs were catchy, Jennifer Lopez was stunning and adorable (as per usual), I genuinely found the story interesting and I was rooting for everyone the whole time. Was it the most amazing movie in the world? No. Would I still choose Maid in Manhattan if I wanted to satisfy my J-Lo rom-com craving? Probably. Did I cry? Yes. Yes, I did. I cried for my younger self. I cried for love. I cried out of gratitude for the 20 Year Trend Cycle for making this movie possible.
There were parts of the movie that were pretty jarring for me, however. The product placement and the social media montages come to mind. I think I got so caught up in the idea of nostalgia that it never actually occurred to me that the movie is set in 2020 and not 2002.
If you’re around my age, then when you were watching these beloved late-90s, early 2000s rom-coms, you were not old enough to critique it in any way. You probably watched them and just thought, “Love! I love love. One day I’ll be in love. That will be so cool.” and that was the extent of it. Looking back to some of my favorites, most of them aren’t the best movies in the world, but I wasn’t old enough, smart enough, or observant enough to notice anything other than beautiful people falling in love, and it making me happy.
To compare Marry Me to Maid in Manhattan or The Wedding Planner won’t do it any justice. I look back on those movies with deep love and core memories surrounding them. They can do no wrong, not because of the movies themselves but because of the fondness I remember them with.
Marry Me is not any of those movies. There are parts of it that feel like that just based on the premise and cast alone, but it is a movie that was made in 2022 (2019 if we’re being technical) with a 2022 budget and it feels that way. That’s not a bad thing, though. In fact, I found it fun to see how they’ve adapted and updated this genre to meet new audiences.
If you take one thing away from this article, it’s this: Watch the movie for what it is, not what you want it to be. It’s great as it is and while I will always have a deep love for the movies of 20 years ago, I am happy we are moving on from them hopefully in a better, more inclusive way.
If you saw this movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts below. I hope it excited people just as much as it excited me. If you need me, I’ll be busy playing the Marry Me soundtrack on repeat until further notice.