“Marry Me” Is a J-Lo Rom-Com About a Lesbian Who Does All The Work, Gets None of the Credit

This Friday night all over the nation, people of all sexual orientations settled into the dip in their home sofa, fired up their television screens and settled in for a romantic evening with the very aggressively advertised Jennifer Lopez cinema event “Marry Me.” My girlfriend and I were amongst them, and we did the thing that you do when you are watching a cinema and a lesbian appears: you grip each other’s limbs with fierce, alarming intensity and scream LESBIAN as if you are attempting to communicate the presence of the lesbian to the entire galaxy.

I am here today to recap for you the lesbian parts of “Marry Me” because it is my correct opinion that this movie, marketed as a heterosexual romantic comedy, was in fact the story of an unsung lesbian heroine who alas does not get her moment in the sun.

If you are unable to watch the film yourself, here are the basics you need to know to follow along here today: Charlie (Owen Wilson) is a math teacher in New York City, he has a daughter named Lou (Chloe Coleman), he’s divorced and his ex-wife’s new boyfriend is cool and takes Lou to do cool things. He has two friends: gay choir teacher Jonathan (Stephen Wallem) and lesbian guidance counselor Parker (Sarah Silverman). I’m not sure if it’s ever confirmed that Jonathan is gay, I might just be stereotyping, but I am gay so that’s my right.

Parker sets the entire plot and its central romance of this film in motion when, in traditional lesbian drama fashion, her plan to take her new girlfriend Roxy and Roxy’s ex-girlfriend to the VERY MONUMENTAL Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) concert — in which Kat will marry her beloved, fellow musician Bastion (Maluma), live on stage for a stadium of fans — is foiled by Parker and Roxy’s unexpected breakup.

Parker begging Charlie "come to the Kat Valdez concert with me tonight"

It’ll be even more fun than when I took you to a Mitski concert and cried the whole time

Charlie, not understanding the immediate and irrational connection often suffered by two women in search of a passionate relationship, scoffs at her relationship only lasting two weeks. “17 days, if you include the breakup,” Parker corrects him, before disclosing that she’s giving him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show his daughter Lou that he is actually really fun by taking her to this unique concert experience. He consents.

At the concert, a pulsing room of extras sing along to my favorite Christmas Carol, “Church Church Church” while Jennifer Lopez wears a bedazzled cross/ nude bodysuit situation that offers us all what the best weddings do: the flirty suggestion of a full labia reveal.

nuns and kat dancing to church church church

and we’re the hottest ones here here here

Parker, eager to show her ex Roxy that she is really cool and doing cool things, is live-streaming the concert. In order to take this killer burn of a vid, Parker passes off the “Marry Me?” sign she made in Bette Porter’s School Of Signage to Charlie.

Meanwhile, the world is discovering that Bastion recently engaged in open-mouth kissing with Kat’s assistant Tyra. Kat stumbles on stage in a wedding dress that does not fit properly!!! unsure about what to do next. Therefore Kat tells the world that you cannot marry an idea, and “if you want something different you have to do something different,” and so she points to the guy holding a ‘Marry Me” sign and is like “okay fine, I pick you!”

"I'll marry you" says kat in her wedding dress

Charlie holds his Marry Me sign while his daughter is like, "Dad that's you"

Charlie is unmoved by this declaration of affection but lucky for him, his lesbian best friend Parker is right there to physically shove him towards the stage while saying “GO GO GO” ten times. NONE OF THIS WOULD’VE HAPPENED WITHOUT PARKER.

Parker implores Charlie to get his ass in gear, 'Jesus h, she's talking to you"

After their onstage nuptials and romantic french kiss, Charlie is shuffled out of the stadium with Kat and into a fancy vehicle that drops her off at her apartment and Charlie is along for the ride I guess? Meanwhile, it is of course Parker who, without so much as a word uttered between them regarding childcare arrangements, dutifully escorts Lou to her mother’s house while Dad is traipsing about town with Kat, not answering her multiple phone calls.

so many missed calls from Parker

Jesus did The L Word Generation Q finally get renewed or something

Later, when Kat’s manager Colin arrives at Charlie’s enormous New York City loft (with exposed brick that he affords on the mere salary of a maths teacher) to make a deal regarding this little charade with Kat, it is once again PARKER — who slept on his sofa like a true pal — who saves the day. She nudges Colin towards offering Charlie a new “math wing” rather than personal wealth in exchange for Charlie’s participation in this rom-com plot. 

Parker, Charlie and Colin the manager in negotiations

Or maybe — and I’m just spitballing here — Kat could donate $50,000 to Autostraddle

Parker then accompanies Charlie to Kat’s apartment as an emotional support lesbian in a very cute outfit. When he balks at fitting Kat into his schedule, it is Parker  who assures them she will ensure it all works out okay.

parker says "I can help him handle it"

In fact I have already downloaded iCal

The basic machinations of this film pull from the Celebrity Dates a Normal script we have seen before a million times because we have all seen Notting Hill a million times. They begin to fall for each other but there are obstacles in their paths, etc. I’m not sure that this movie has anything original or interesting to say about anything, but I’m absolutely sure that both Parker and Charlie’s daughter are lesbian fashion icons.

"I don't sit long enough" says Lou in a flannel, beanie and t-shirt

My girlfriend wears variations on this exact outfit every day

As the plot continues in the way you expect it would, it is Parker who keeps tabs on Charlie’s mentions.

"there's a picture of you buying her a pregnancy test" parker tells charlie

and also a bag of fun size Snickers bars, diabetic compression socks, one roll of toilet paper, five papaya face masks, toilet bowl cleaner, two deeply discounted pinecone-scented candles and a bottle of melatonin, so IDK what is ultimately going on with you but I hope you are ok

AND THEN. Rather than go to Europe to do something involving fame and money, Parker arranges for Kat to visit Charlie’s little math club, even coordinating for the children to sign photo waivers prior to Kat’s arrival and booting the kids whose parents failed to do so. Then Kat teaches the children how to fight stage fright with dancing for their upcoming Mathalon. We also find out that Katy Perry kissed Kat Valdez, which is gay. Parker admonishes Charlie for not introducing Kat to his daughter sooner, which is correct.

Parker introduces Kat to the class

Like maybe something in Latin IDK

When Charlie takes Kat to the high school dance so that teenagers can learn more about how to be a great singer and pull off sideboob, it is … YOU GUESSED IT! Parker who arranges in advance to strip the children of their mobile devices to ensure Kat can enjoy the semi-formal just like I did in the 90s when cell phones didn’t exist and you just had to CHERISH MEMORIES in your HEART.

Parker at the school dance announcing that it is a photo-free zone

“You did all this for me?” Kat asks.

“I might have had a little help,” Charlie says, FINALLY.

After engaging in sexual intercourse off-screen because this is a family film, J-Lo walks around this sunlit apartment eating a green apple wearing nothing but a men’s dress shirt. This is unrelated to the plot of this recap I just wanted to tell you.

Kat holding an apple wearing a men's dress shirt and no pants

Iconic LGBTQ+ ally Jennifer Lopez

We next see our lesbian friend Parker at her laptop with Lou, watching Kat’s live performance of “Marry Me” with her ex Bastion. Lou turns to Charlie and is like, “get your ass to the Garden” and Parker is impressed because she probably can see the baby gay vibes.

"Crowd's going bananas" says Parker to charlie while watching the laptop TV

Me providing Super Bowl commentary

Fast forward through everything that you already knew was gonna happen and we are going to Peoria for the MATHALON!!! If you haven’t seen the film, beware there are ENDING SPOILERS ahead.

Kat realizes that she has real true feelings for Charlie and leaves a talk show to go to Peoria, a town which you may recall from a Jenny Shecter story that ends with “that’s never gonna fly in Peoria.” Actually though Kat flies to Champaign (which just so happens to be where I personally was born) in a tight dress and stilettos, an outfit I would not wear anywhere without a backpack containing a Change of Attire but anyhow that’s why J-Lo is famous and I am writing this recap in an oversized grey t-shirt and soccer shorts from the boy’s department at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Who is there waiting for her with the phone charger she seeks and the buddy she needs to traverse this biting winter landscape in order to show her support for mathematics and also Charlie and his nervous baby gay daughter??? PARKER. Literally Kat asks the sky where she can charge her phone and a lesbian (Parker) appears like magic with a battery!

Together they hijack a bus, do Arts & Crafts, and arrive in the auditorium just in time for the BIG moment.

J-Lo running in heels with Parker behind her

Me watching a femme do anything

Charlie scurries on stage to give his daughter a pep talk in his signature talk-whisper and then looks out into the audience to see Kat in a sensible winter jacket. She opines that “not everything adds up the way it was supposed to” and “they say if you want something different you have to do something different,” even though the “they” that said that was in fact Kat, 1.5 hours ago.

Now it is time for Kat to present a Marry Me poster to Charlie! And who, pray tell, is there with said poster, ready to hold it up for all the world to see? OUR LESBIAN FRIEND PARKER.

Lesbian Parker gives J-Lo the sign

Me? You want ME to dress up in a latex nun outfit and come over to your hotel room later?

We reach this film’s shining point of transformation in the way that films of this nature are wont to do — a loving embrace between Kat and Charlie that ensures many more to come. The lesbian guidance counselor snuggles the (possibly gay) choir director, and then we cut to children singing the dulcet tones of “marry me mary me say yes.”

Lesbian/Gay snuggle

Church Church Church Church

At this point I had predicted loudly that Parker would be getting together with Kat’s assistant Melissa (played by the host of The Circle, Michelle Buteau)! I suspected this simply by the Law of Rom-Com Ending Montage Unlikely Match-Ups but alas, in the end Parker simply enables love for everybody but herself! Melissa hooks up with a Mathalon coach instead! Tragic.

I eagerly anticipate the spin-off/sequel, “Move in With Me,” in which Parker finally gets what she deserves: a rom-com ending of her very own.


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Riese

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2953 articles for us.

8 Comments

  1. “After engaging in sexual intercourse off-screen because this is a family film, J-Lo walks around this sunlit apartment eating a green apple wearing nothing but a men’s dress shirt. This is unrelated to the plot of this recap I just wanted to tell you.”

    And this is all I ever needed to know. Carry on, maestro.

    • I remember reading the comic that this film is based off and Parker actually had a big ol’ crush on Kat (whose name was Stasia and Charlie was Guy. Parker’s name was Parker though I’m pretty sure?) but had to hand over her Marry Me sign because she desperately needed to go pee. Then her best friend got married to her celebrity crush because of her sign (and Kat/Stasia actually does talk to Parker about that despite other character’s dismissal of Parker’s feelings).

  2. My partner and I were ALSO convinced that Sarah Silverman and Michelle Buteau would hook up! Maybe I just assumed Buteau’s character was gay because she played a lesbian in Always Be My Maybe haha. I’m pitching a sequel where Parker falls for the new history teacher played by Tig Notaro.

  3. Ok so it is definitely FASCINATING that we were all convinced Melissa and Parker would end up together even though there was no moment when they connected or even interacted in a positive or promising way??? Like there’s some law of rom-coms that we all understand deeply and expected to play out about these characters!!

  4. Parker’s astonishing wardrobe is right up there with Charlie’s loft apartment for the “Really? On their salary??” prize? Guidance counselors must make the same as once-a-month NYC sex columnists…

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