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License to Wed

License to Wed doesn't necessarily fail miserably as a romantic comedy, but you know you're in trouble when the outtakes during the end credits are the best part.


License to Wed is typically predictable as well as eye-roll producing: Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) proposes to the girl of his dreams, Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore), and the two of them plan to live happily ever after. That is, until they meet Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), the head cleric at Sadie's family church. He'll marry them as requested so long as they pass his patented "foolproof" marriage-prep course. Consisting of outrageous classes, outlandish homework assignments and some outright invasion of privacy, you're not sure if Rev. Frank has been asked to ruin their engagement or if he's just a sociopath. Needless to say, Ben and Sadie's relationship is put through the ringer to the point of seemingly no return. But of course, this is a rom-com—and all things sweetness and light shall prevail. See? There go the eyes.


Williams must have said yes right away to License to Wed. It's a chance for him to play his zealous preacher, a personality we've seen many times in his stand-up routines ("And you shall be HEA-A-LED!"). Although Rev. Frank is a certainly a toned-down version, who also has a wise twinkle in his eye, there is still plenty of Williams wackiness to go around--which is probably why everyone else signed on. Making a comedy with Robin Williams has got to be one of the more hilarious ways to spend three months on a set. It's just too bad they are all stuck in such a so-so comedy, especially The Office's Krasinski. He's so much better than the milquetoasty groom-to-be he has to play, starring with the oh-so-bland Moore and excluding about as much chemistry as two test tubes. There's no The Office's Pam-Jim connection here. But Krasinski is just starting out his movie career and, I would hope, chalk License to Wed up as a learning experience. Speaking of The Office, just about everyone, save for Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson, makes a cameo appearance. And then there's Josh Flitter, as Rev. Frank's lackey. He's the elfish kid from Nancy Drew and The Greatest Game Ever Played, who is endlessly playing the wiseacre and mischievous sidekick. Wonder how he'll turn out when he's older?


License to Wed is familiar territory for director Ken Kwapis, best known for helming other light and frothy fare such as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Beautician and the Beast (bet he wishes that last credit would go away). Without blinking an eye, Kwapis simply wades right into the bubblegum that is License to Wed, pointing and shooting his camera at his star player, Robin Williams. But even someone as talented as Williams at comedy needs some kind of guidance once in a while, no? Apparently, Kwapis—and the bevy of writers who took a stab at the screenplay--doesn't think so. There isn't anything inherently wrong with License; it just doesn't make a lasting impression. Besides the outtakes, which I already mentioned, the only other part worth mentioning is when the fake robot babies, which Ben and Sadie are forced to take care of, shoot fake snot/goo out of their noses. Good times.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.