I would love to write wonderful things about License to Wed. I wish I had things to say about the comedic timing, the brilliant acting and the warm fuzzy feeling you get from just the right amount of cheesiness in the ending. These would be the makings of a great romantic comedy, which unfortunately, License to Wed just isn't.
From the moment the movie begins, the story is rushed. The first few minutes give us a montage showing how our leading characters meet each other, fall in love and are catapulted into the hellacious chain of events that is License to Wed. John Krasinski and Mandy Moore are Ben and Sadie, the adorably average couple who find themselves trying to gain a minister’s approval with their big day just 3 weeks away. In order to get their marriage license, Reverend Frank (the obnoxious and cringe-worthy Robin Williams) puts the couple through trials that are supposed to test their compatibility and their ability to act as responsible parents and spouses. These pose problems for the couple, of course so read more
Of course, as anyone can predict, Ben’s patience is tested more than anything else. Since it was Sadie’s wish to be married by Reverend Frank, she sees nothing wrong with his absurd antics, which range from prohibiting the couple from having sex to leaving two hideous robotic babies in their care. I begrudgingly accepted this behavior from Teri Polo in Meet the Parents but coming from Sadie, it is virtually unforgivable. Not only does she candidly discuss her sex life with the Reverend while Ben watches with incredible embarrassment, but she agrees to drive her car blindfolded as a means to test her communication skills with Ben, with no reservations whatsoever. There were about 50 things in License to Wed that were pretty inconceivable, but that one takes the cake for sure.
The movie does have aspects that could have been developed a little more for the greater good. The supporting cast, which includes Christine Taylor and a handful of John's quirky co-stars from The Office are very funny, but their on-screen time is little more than teasing cameos that leave us wanting more.
As bad as this movie is, there is a glimmer of hope which can be found in Mandy and John. While there are no surprises in the way Ben and Sadie seem to mirror John and Mandy’s personalities, the characters compliment each other in a way that is at times delightful. They are both so likable and exude that air of being a couple that you want to root for. Unfortunately, my affinity for the couple only made it that much more frustrating when they were overshadowed by Robin Williams and his ridiculousness. It is refreshing to see a fairly new pair of actors on the screen, but it is wasted on a movie that never really takes off.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.