For all intents and purposes, License to Wed should have been just one of many romantic comedies released to little fanfare this summer. Nothing spectacular about it. But someone (maybe the director, Ken Kwapis) got the bright idea to cast Robin Williams in a lead role. “Why?,” I plead, “What have I done to deserve this?” Hell, what has anyone (excluding everyone who loves America) done to deserve this? The answer is simple: We’re all sinners and this is our brutal punishment. Me? I’d rather be flogged with a cat ‘o nine tails.
It’s probably safe to assume that from my beginning rant, you’ve figured out I’m not the biggest fan of Robin Williams. I’d say you’re mostly right. I simply cannot fathom how anyone can be entertained by his scatter-brained, super-hyper antics. However, when he acts in serious films like “Good Will Hunting” or “One Hour Photo” the guy is great. You’ve also probably figured out, it’s not the serious Robin Williams acting in License to Wed.
Anyways, our other co-stars of the movie Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore, “Because I Said So”) and Ben Murphy (John Krasinski, “The Holiday”) want to get married. Sadie wants to get married at St. Augustine’s, her family church where Reverend Frank (Williams) heads the congregation. He tells them that before he’ll oversee their vows, they’ll first have to take and pass his Marriage Preparation Course. Sadie jumps at the opportunity while Ben voices his reservations to a brick wall (if only women would listen to us). This course, we soon find out, is really just an exercise to strain an otherwise great relationship and to give a stage for Reverend Frank to get zany.
Let’s see what some of the good Reverend’s course work is, shall we? There is a word association game with Ben and his in-laws. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in mathematics to figure out how well that goes. He gives the couple, two remote controlled, robotic babies to care for as if they were their own. Of course, the Reverend and his Hitler youth sidekick (Josh Flitter, “Big Momma’s House 2”) make sure the babies have tantrums at all the best times. He wants the two of them to work on their communication skills, so he blindfolds Sadie and tells Ben to give her driving instructions. Please, tell me again how this is supposed to strengthen a marriage because I don’t get it.
The rest of License to Wed is simple enough to figure out. There aren’t any shocking twists at the end and I don’t have the strength to talk about it anymore.
Speaking of strength, John Krasinski carried himself like a wet towel. Yeah, I get his character is bit disinterested in the whole charade — but holy shit — he looked like he was sleeping through his lines. I got the feeling he didn’t give a rats ass about the final outcome of this movie. Cheers to Mandy Moore, though. Sure, she’s not much of an actress (or a singer for that matter) but she tries like hell and that’s gotta count for something. She’s also kinda cute — in a “I wouldn’t kick her out of bed but wouldn’t try real hard to get her there” sort of way.
Do I really need to give you a final verdict of License to Wed? I don’t think so. I’ll instead finish with a quick thought. My Christmas wish this year is to insist that Williams only be cast in serious roles from now ’til eternity. If Hollywood won’t stop the madness, maybe, just maybe Jesus can. Can I get a hallelujah?