License to Wed (3/10)
by Tony Medley
I went to this with mixed
feelings. On the positive side was Mandy Moore. She captivated me in
Chasing Liberty (2004), but hasnít been in much that was any good
since. Still, when Iíve seen her I liked her and sheís got a beautiful
On the downside was Robin
Williams. Except for last yearís Man of the Year heís appeared in
a string of turkeys as long as my arm.
Here, he appears as
Reverend Frank, a clergyman of unnamed denomination, who requires that
betrothed Sadie Jones (Moore) and Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) go through
a marital prep class before he will marry them.
This could have been a
rollickingly good comedy, but the script obviously had lots of problems,
considering the many people who got credit (Kim Barker and Time
Rasmussen & Vince DiMeglio, story by Kim Barker & Wayne Lloyd). God
knows how many others had input, but the result was some pretty silly
vignettes. Just as one example, the final test of Reverend Frankís class
is for Sadie to drive blindfolded through city streets, relying only on
Benís instructions. For another, Reverend Frank bugs Sadie and Benís
bedroom. Yeah, sure.
The idea is that Reverend
Frank wants to take the bloom off the rose before they get married
instead of letting them grow into their differences after matrimony.
Thatís a questionable concept, for sure. But even if Reverend Frankís
intentions are pure, what he puts them through is more than most
relationships could stand. Thereís no comedy in a preacher causing a
couple blissfully in love to fall out of it, only stupidity.
One of the silliest
characters in the film is identified as Choir Boy (Josh Flitter), a
little boy who is Reverend Frankís right hand person. Heís always there
as a fledgling clergyman, I guess. I didnít think his character was
funny at all, just silly and offensive, even more repugnant than
Reverend Frank, if thatís possible.
Moore could improve some of
these weak films in which she appears if she would sing. But she utters
nary a note in this film. Thatís not to say that she doesnít do a good
job. Sheís a competent actress, and does the best with this material,
which isnít even close to being entertaining. It doesnít remotely
compare with Chasing Liberty, and that certainly didnít set the
box office on fire.
The idea of a Robin
Williams-hip clergyman who really knows what marriage is like and tries
to prepare couples for whatís to come could be very funny. But it
requires intelligence and humor, both of which this film lacks. As to
Williams as a clergyman, he canít hold a candle to Bing Crosby.
there were some chuckles at my screening, I found this to be stunningly
June 27, 2007