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Robin Williams……….Reverend Frank
Mandy Moore……….Sadie Jones
John Krasinski……….Ben Murphy
Eric Christian Olsen……….Carlisle
Christine Taylor……….Lindsey Jones
Josh Flitter……….Choir Boy
Peter Strauss……….Mr. Jones
Grace Zabriskie……….Grandma Jones
Roxanne Hart……….Mrs. Jones
Angela Kinsey……….Judith the Jewelry Clerk
The penultimate scene in License to Wed is the kind of love soaring on eagles’ wings dribble one would expect from a romantic comedy. The camera zooms in close on Sadie and Ben (Mandy Moore and John Krasinski) as the score swells and they say all the things they always wanted to say. Unfortunately, the camera and dialogue move so fast that the audience is likely to get sick rather than weepy. That nauseous feeling seems to be omnipresent in these Meet the Parents style films.
The increasing popularity of the humiliation comedy is a disturbingly cynical trend in Hollywood. Any film that predominantly triggers anger and frustration in its audience is a hateful piece of cinema. Said emotions are stirred in License to Wed by Sadie and Ben’s Reverend and marriage counselor, Frank (Robin Williams, who has long ago exhausted any good will he may have had). Frank, good Christian that he is, only wants Sadie and Ben to wed if they are truly in love. He has no other ulterior motives to test their (or, more to the point, Ben’s) commitment toward each other. Without any sort of side story, License to Wed is a particularly mean-spirited exercise in embarrassment.
Frank assaults Ben with a barrage of hypothetical questions and situations that are as line-crossing as they are outlandish. Supposedly, humor is to be derived from these scenarios, but, in actuality, rage and, in one instance, fear are the emotions that most often come to the forefront. Naturally, no one believes Ben when he says that Frank is being antagonistic. When your future bride doesn’t even remotely side with you it is time to get out while you still can, Ben. As for the others, it is a wonder why Ben would even care what they think since their characteristics are so paper thin, they are almost invisible.
Of course, it would not matter if License to Wed were the most rich ensemble cast since anything by Robert Altman, its premise is still shallow and sadistic. Even if one embraced the religious overtones involved, he or she would have nothing to cling to. License to Wed rides the fence on any topic that might make its character interactions more interesting. However, the film is steadfast in its effort to showcase the smug Robin Williams and the cute as a button Mandy Moore in as many test audience friendly, multi-demographic spanning scenes as possible.
All the while, anyone with a soul must decide whether he or she feels worse for John Krasinski’s character or John Krasinski himself. Neither one did anything to deserve this sort of treatment. But after starring in License to Wed Krasinski is on first warning. There is honestly no redeeming quality to be found in the film and even a nobody should have known to stay away from it.
There are not enough bad things to say about License to Wed and what is left to say is mostly unprintable. It is best that anyone with the slightest bit of taste avoid this movie at all costs. Potential movie goers may want to wait until License to Wed is out of theaters altogether before returning to the Cineplex just to be safe from coming into contact with someone who has seen and enjoyed it. One would be prudent to never ever see this movie.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):