“License to Wed” isn’t so much about matrimony as mediocrity.
The senseless Robin Williams farce — replete with humor at the expense of the obese, the elderly and the devout — disguises itself as a young adult-friendly romantic comedy. But it’s really just cut-rate, throwaway, big-screen waste with the inexplicably overused Mandy Moore annoying us yet again as the ingenue. Too boring and irrelevant to be condemned as truly bad, this movie’s high concept supposes the existence of a sadistic and yet somehow still well-intentioned premarital religious counselor-from-hell.
As underdirected by Ken Kwapis and carelessly written by Kim Barker and Tim Rasmussen, the story imagines Williams as the intrusive Rev. Frank, a cleric of unspecified Christian denomination. In a stretch of logic so twisted and impossible it could only come from Hollywood, this man of God sure acts like the devil. He doesn’t just force class participation; he also has illegal bugging devices installed to eavesdrop, thwarts all sexual contact, intentionally provokes nasty arguments, plants evil robot babies for “practice,” uses church availability as blackmail, and otherwise torments couples who come to him to perform their wedding ceremonies.
Aided by his choirboy henchman (Josh Flitter), Rev. Frank sabotages couples in a supposed effort to force open lines of communication and somehow strengthen their bond. But for the faithful Sadie Jones (Moore) and her hapless and annoyed fiancé Ben (“The Office’s” John Krasinski), Frank’s manipulations threaten what they thought was already a happy relationship.
Sadie’s well-to-do family serves as Greek chorus as hilarity allegedly ensues and the required boy-loses-girl scenario plays out. Unfortunately, a script dependant on lazy sight gag set-ups and Williams’ antic reputation isn’t helped much by the presence of the featured love birds cast here. Moore is talentless milquetoast as always, while Krasinski proves not attractive enough, funny enough nor memorable enough to merit his promotion from television to the multiplex.
They contribute to a “License” in need of revoking.
License to Wed *
StarringRobin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski
Written by Kim Barker, Tim Rasmussen
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Running time 1 hour, 40 minutes