Reel Shorts | License to Wed

29 06 2007

For the second time this summer, God gets the comedy treatment on the big screen. Unfortunately, filmmakers just can’t seem to capture his essence, delivering first the unfunny “Evan Almighty” and now the latest stinker, “License to Wed.” At this rate, Hollywood should not be in a rush to do the Lord any favors.

Clumsy but well-intentioned Ben (John Krasinski) meets a shy cute girl, Sadie (Mandy Moore), and the two instantly take a liking to one another. Soon they celebrate several special moments, including their first kiss, moving in together and, finally, he proposes marriage. One hint that storm clouds are on the horizon is that all of this takes place in the film’s first 15 minutes.

When they attempt to set a wedding date, they discover that they must take a marriage preparation course from Reverend Frank (Robin Williams). Ben and Sadie are advised that they can’t have sex until marriage and other strict rules that are designed for the two to get to each accustomed to matrimony.

Problems start immediately when the Reverend’s mentee bugs the two’s apartment. With the ability to eavesdrop on their conversations, he knows just when to come to prevent any pre-marital “counseling” before it takes place. Other hi-jinks ensue that create a wedge that ultimately drives this duo apart. Confused and in trouble, Ben seeks advice from his best friend, Joel (DeRay Davis), who is no help since he is battling his own relationship demons.

The problem with the film is a lackluster script that, despite brief flashes of humor, sinks like a rock to the bottom of the ocean. Williams, who possesses a razor-sharp wit, can only do so much in such an unlikable role. Krasinski seems as if he is missing his co-workers from “The Office” and delivers a flat, uninspired performance. Then there is Moore, whose career is as cold in films this year as Don Cheadle is hot. Earlier this year, Moore co-starred in one of the year’s worst and most annoying films, “Because I Said So,” and this film is not much better.

The jokes are hit and miss, including young Black kids on a leash gone mad in a department store and a veteran couple showing “true communication” during a marriage preparation episode. At the end of the day, this film needs to have its license suspended for bad entertainment and poor performance.

Grade: D

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