Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to talk about the union of Robin Williams’ manic comic style with a script by Kim Barker, Tim Rasmussen, Vince Di Meglio, Kim Barker and Wayne Lloyd that has all the appeal of a guided tour of hell.
This union, for the feature film “License to Wed,” is not to be entered into lightly. And that is the biggest problem.
Williams has two speeds: supersonic comedy when he is being funny and dead serious when he is in a drama. Try to make him find a place in the middle, and you get another “Popeye.”
Director Ken Kwapis doesn’t allow Williams to be manic enough to give the movie energy, and the plot is so offensively stupid that there is no drama for Williams to use.
If there is anyone who sees any reason this film should not be seen, speak now or forever hold your peace.
“License to Wed” looks at what happens when a seemingly sweet couple – Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore) and Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) – decide to become man and wife. He wants to get married in a tropical spot. She always has dreamed of being married in the family church by the family minister, Reverend Frank (Williams). She gets her wish.
In an effort to slow the tide of divorces, Frank has come up with a compatibility test for young couples. If they fail the test, he has the right to cancel the wedding.
Any couple with a single brain cell would bail at that moment. There are no limits to the stupidity of these characters.
They not only agree to the test; they stick with it even after Frank bans sex until the wedding night, creates fights between the groom and his future in-laws, places a listening device in the couple’s apartment and puts them through an ordeal with a pair of robotic babies.
These challenges might have been funny if Kwapis had just said “I do” to either making this an over-the-top farce or a black comedy. His middle-of-the-road effort ends up as attractive as a bridesmaid’s dress.
Kwapis had the players he needed to make this work. Along with Williams, Krasinski is quite familiar with unorthodox comedy through his role on “The Office.” And Moore’s best film work to date was in the dark comedy “Saved!”
All that talent is wasted because of an uninspired script and ho-hum direction.
I now pronounce “License To Wed” a complete flop. You may now kiss this film goodbye.
“License To Wed”
Rating: PG-13 (language, adult themes)
Starring: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski
Director: Ken Kwapis
Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes