Movie Review: License to Wed

By Amy Lamare, July 4, 2007

License to Wed (LSWED) stars Mandy Moore (MMOOR) and The Office‘s John Krasinski (JKRAS) as Sadie and Ben. They play a winsome couple who meet at Starbucks, date, fall in love and get engaged. This all happens in the first 10 or so minutes of the film. Ben wants to run away and marry in a tropical locale, but Sadie caves to the wishes of her blue-blooded family and the couple agrees to marry in the same church her parents were married in. So far so good, right?

We are then introduced to Robin Williams’ (RWILL) Reverend Frank and his sidekick, Choir Boy, played by Josh Flitter. Rev. Frank has declared himself at war with the rising divorce rate and in order to better equip the couples he’s been asked to marry, he requires they complete his marriage preparation course. The film stops making sense at this point. Reverend Frank has Sadie and Ben jump through hoops so ridiculous we cease to care one whit about their characters and begin to wonder what drew the two of them together in the first place.

Rev. Frank’s marriage preparation course seems to be designed specifically to break Sadie and Ben up, as he does everything but take a crow bar and pry them apart. Sadie inexplicably morphs into a mindless drone who drinks in Reverend Frank’s heresy like it is the elixir of life. Ben stands around and watches and begrudgingly goes along with it. Robin Williams, as usual, infuses his character with so much manic energy that all you can do is sit and watch as the train wreck unfolds.

Reverend Frank and Choir Boy, as played by Williams and Flitter, are like a Mafia Don and his henchman. Their subversive techniques should be studied by the CIA. A ban on premarital sex is one thing, animatronic twins another, wire tapping their phones to better fuel the flames of miscommunication is something else altogether illegal.

Look, the basis for the entire propagation of the romantic comedy as a genre is when our characters “meet cute” and get to know each other. Inevitably there will be some big misunderstanding that will threaten the foundation of their love, but it lasts fifteen minutes, is resolved and everything is all lovey dovey once again.

The filmmakers of License to Wed made a huge miscalculation when they took the entire raison d’etre of the romantic comedy and boiled it down to the first ten minutes of the film, leaving audiences with the ninety or so minutes of the uncomfortable tension, will they or won’t they make it part of the story.

Mandy Moore and John Krasinski make a cute screen couple but it is a shame they didn’t have better material to work with. License to Wed is neither romantic, nor comedic.

License to Wed comes to theaters on July 3.

This work is the property of Stock Exchange and Amy Lamare. It is not to be reused, reprinted or stolen under any conditions.

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