‘License to Wed’ nothing new
Craig — “License to Wed” shares a lot of similarities with a movie like “Meet the Parents,” but this time, the hapless hero must deal with a whole different kind of father. Ben and Sadie (John Krasinski, Mandy Moore) are a young couple whose romantic history has been nothing but roses. Once Ben proposes, they think that married life will be just as wonderful. However, Sadie’s wish to be married in her family’s church by the illustrious Rev. Frank (Robin Williams) becomes more of a complication than they could imagine.
Besides the fact that the church’s only opening is three weeks away, Rev. Frank takes matrimony very seriously, and requires all couples to participate in his self-designed marriage course, completion of which is the only way that he will agree to marry them in his church. Ben agrees for Sadie’s sake, but the program quickly becomes a nightmare as the good reverend bugs their apartment to ensure abstinence, causes a rift with the in-laws, and basically drives Ben crazy.
Williams is all right as Rev. Frank, although a little over the top (and with his lineup of wacky characters, that is really saying something). Moore is cute as ever as Sadie, even though the part is not much of a stretch for her. The real question is whether television upstart Krasinski (“The Office”) has much of a future in film. The answer is : check back later. After playing small roles in recent movies such as “Jarhead,” “Dreamgirls” and “Shrek the Third,” it only seems natural for filmmakers to see how the man who portrays deadpan business drone Jim Halpert would fare in a lead role on the big screen. Unfortunately, Krasinski cannot rely on his now-trademark camera glances in an environment where the fourth wall must remain unbroken. Still, he manages to maintain his charm to some extent.
The movie really suffers from the untapped comedic potential of its supporting cast, including Christine Taylor, Eric Christian Olsen, Rachael Harris and especially Krasinski’s fellow “Office” cast mates Mindy Kaling, Brian Baumgartner and Angela Kinsey. The overall purpose for “License to Wed” seems to be a showcase for the talents of “The Office” cast. Director Ken Kwapis, who has directed a number of the show’s episodes, disregards the kind of freshness that “The Office” offers. Whereas the show is quite original when it comes to sitcoms (no laugh track, mockumentary style, occasional improvisation), “License” is nothing new. The romantic comedy is completely predictable from beginning to end and at points is just flat-out unfunny.
However, there are bright spots that keep the movie from being unbearable; besides a pair of animatronic babies that are scarier-looking than Chucky, Krasinski and Moore have some decent chemistry, and Williams’ usual comic energy should entertain any and all fans. “License to Wed” is a passable comedy, but it does not do justice to the cast and crew of “The Office.” Oddly enough, it might actually have been worth the trouble to inject one of Michael Scott’s hilariously awkward “That’s what she said!” lines into the dialogue just to see how well it played.
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