Reel Rewind – License to Wed

License to Wed (M)

Directed by: Ken Kwapis

Starring: Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Robin Williams

One star

Review by: Julian Wright

Robin Williams had some critical success in the last couple of years when he decided to hang up his clown shoes and take on a few dramatic roles. We saw another side of him when he explored his dark side in films like the creepy One Hour Photo and Insomnia.

It is a shame he has decided to return to his comfort zone, particularly when his comeback film to showcase what he usually does best is such a droll excuse for a romantic comedy. Here he plays Reverend Frank who has created a Marriage Preparation Course for couples about to exchange their vows. This course puts relationships through the ringer putting couples through an emotional obstacle course of tests that determine their compatibility. If their relationship survives the course, they are made for each other.

Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski) are his latest clients whose relationship has been a whirlwind of romance. They are so nauseatingly cute that they have never even had an argument. That’s all about to change when these tests begin to drive a wedge between the cute couple. They begin to argue over responsibility and raising a family and begin to question whether or not they should actually get married.

This laboured comedy is so painfully unfunny it makes you wonder how it got made. It is very common with Hollywood movies that the star is forced to carry an entire film on their shoulders with their charm, wit or comedic talents. Williams has been given the task with this film but he is most disappointing. He can usually give the dullest films a bit of life and vitality but he is given little room to pop into his usual comedic routines and he looks bored here.

The main idea of this film has some potential but it is given such ordinary treatment. It plays a lot on the awkwardness of being welcomed into a family of in-laws, but we have seen this done before and more effectively in Meet the Parents. The script is routine, lacks wit and intelligence and has little to say about relationships. The characters are cliché and the supporting cast are incredibly unremarkable. Even the quirky grandmother and Ben’s wise-cracking buddy are dull.

During one of Reverend Frank’s tests, a word association exercise, John is made to describe his in-laws in one word and in turn is described as vanilla, the perfect description for this film. But even for light entertainment, this movie is pretty horrible.

As appeared in Examiner Newspapers, 2007

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