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License to Wed the Usual Williams Fluff

Published July 6, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros.
License to Wed Poster License to Wed
Robin Williams is so funny, why can't they capture that on film without the benefit of animation? He's great at drama. But none of his comedies have been really great. Patch Adams was just good timing and parents liked Doubtfire because it was about doing anything for your children. His best comedy, The Birdcage had him as a straight man. Well, he was gay, but he was the straight man to Nathan Lane.

Movie Review: License to Wed

License to Wed falls into the usual category. High concept opportunities for Williams to do fast talking voices. He plays a reverend who insists that fiancés Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski) go through his relationship course before he marries them. His wild antics put Ben in uncomfortable situations and ultimately threaten their very relationship. And they get robot babies.

Actually, this is both a Robin Williams movie and a Mandy Moore movie. There's really no saving that. It's trying way too hard to be cute right away. The accidental boob grab, the "I love you" misfires and Reverend Frank telling the audience he's not going to let them see the sex scene is just like cute by committee. It's so annoying, it makes you hate everyone from the beginning.

Williams' riffs are decent considering the restrictions of priesthood. He manages to throw in some off color double entendres and an irreverent take on the commandments, but it's not his prime material. Funny pictures made with Photoshop are an indication of the level at which this film is operating. Everything is artificially constructed.

It's like they threw everything into the script and said, "Try this. And this. And this." Some of it HAS to make you laugh. I liked the zapper scene at the gift registry, but that's about it. A bit about a mistaken engraving is ridiculous because obviously any jewelry store would fix it. There has to be some logic to the joke.

It's a lot of the same battle of the sexes bullsh*t. Men do this, women do this. Men want to assert control, women want men to make X, Y and Z effort. Even if some of it's true, who cares about these D-grade characters talking about it? Most of it hasn't been true for about 10 years but who's keeping track?

Krasinski seems like he's trying to do his Office character, but he's totally out of his depth. He's not the straight man because his reactions are too big and he falls into a lot of things. He's definitely not as funny as Williams. The kid who follows Reverend Frank around matches Williams, but not Krasinski. The slacker goof works on a show about awkward moments, not in a slapstick comedy.

At this point, does it matter if I critique the characters? You don't know anything about Ben and Sadie before they're together. Who are they? What do they do? Why should we care if they make it? It kind of seems like she's WAY out of his league and he's really a loser who does nothing but complain, and not in a perceptive way. But really, if the movie were funny, that wouldn't matter.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros.

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