“License to Wed” commits too many cinematic crimes to list in this space. Here are just a few:
1) Robin Williams has exhausted all audience goodwill.
2) John Krasinski (from TV’s “The Office”) has collected a paycheck that should enable him to make better movies.
3) Hollywood has yet to find a movie that does justice to Mandy Moore’s charisma.
“License to Wed” is both harmless and tedious, which raises the question: Who is the target demographic for this film?
The humor tap dances around raunchy and settles for generic. Ben (Krasinski) and Sadie (Moore) are in love. Williams plays a pastor who marches the engaged lovebirds through extreme, pre-wedding therapy. The movie primarily builds the case for how Williams has forever lost his edge for brilliant free-associative comedy. But that’s a foregone conclusion at this point after the actor has anchored cinematic masterpieces such as “R.V.” and “Flubber.”
Director Ken Kwapis (“The Office”) deploys a breezy style that whisks the audience through the painfully contrived gags. Kwapis isn’t to blame, nor is the cast. Chastise Warner Bros. for bankrolling the type of bland production that Touchstone Pictures specialized in during the late 1980s. “License to Wed” reflects the studio’s conservative strategy to grab market share in a summer flooded with comic-book movies.
Look to director Judd Apatow and his chummy band of actors for how to construct a sublime romantic comedy. The difference is that “Knocked Up” nails how guys act around other guys, and how guys act immature around girls despite their best intentions. “License to Wed” follows its high-concept premise with the broadest comedic strokes imaginable. “Knocked Up” adeptly mixes high-concept gags with idiosyncratic jokes. It recognizes the audience’s intelligence. “License to Wed” does not.
BY JAMIE PETERS