Tuesday, December 30, 2008

License to Wed (2007)

It’s funny (or maybe not) that in driver’s license there is a mandatory age before you can apply, but sometimes in marriage people seem to have the idea that there is an age when you should apply regardless of anything else.

In License to Wed, comedy’s energizer bunny Robin William stars as Reverent Frank a highly unorthodox pastor of St. Augustine. Believing that desire (and majority age of course) does not close the deal for having a great marriage he holds what is in effect a stress test masked as a wedding seminar for couples wishing to use his church for the ceremony. His target, at least for the duration of the film, Ben Murphy (played by John Krasinski) and Sadie Jones (played by Mandy Moore).

Sadly for much of the film Ben and Sadie did not successfully sell the relationship. John Krasinski was just too awkward never really connecting with the much powerful character of Mandy Moore. What would have given this movie some added depth is a couple with chemistry and not one that screams disaster a mile away. Audiences will never feel the love before, during, or after Reverend Frank tears them apart.

As for Reverend Frank, well, he made and probably also broke the movie. Robin Williams remains as energetic as he has always been even at this age of 57. Cohesion wise it was a problem. For License to Wed there was no energy, actor, nor script available capable of matching him and level things out. He just stands out too much as he gave lines that are both humorous and critical.

The supporting cast is just forgettable. With Reverend Franks unchecked, it is appalling that Ben and Sadie were unchecked too. Sadie’s father, mother, sister, and friend had little presence even if they we’re physically there. There was insufficient interaction with the Joneses to give the atmosphere of a wedding. Of them all sister Lindsey (Christine Taylor) had the greatest presence unfortunately she was too neurotic, recovering from a divorce to be endearing.

In terms of pacing there is nothing wrong with License to Wed. It was never boring. What it lacked is the emotional connection necessary with what I assume to be a romance comedy. It is even more important considering the message it is trying to bring on not rushing to marriage with just riding the euphoria of hot sex and candle lit dinners.

Reverend Frank’s remarriage program was on the ball. It would have been nice if the story was able to reign in the emotion of the audience romantically before convincing them it was wrong or insufficient. And speaking of insufficient so too were Mister and Misses Jones. They could have been the emotional anchor in terms of giving words of wisdom but they seem just as neurotic as their daughter Lindsey.

License to Wed, for all its short comings production wise, does have a good message. Like all licenses, marriage does not boil down to age or desire it also comes down to ability and responsibility.

Until then it’s the jeep for me.

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