And then comes the proposal (and the plot, as a result). But before the happy couple walk down the aisle and Miss Jones becomes Mrs. Murphy, they must trek the hot coals laid in Reverend Frank’s (Williams) Marriage 101 course. And for 91 minutes, Rev. Frank (and the Choir Boy with questionable dog-like obedience…) put the couple through a string of mostly senseless tasks to prove they’re fit to be wed. One such task puts a blindfolded Sadie at the wheel with Ben in a backseat panic. If only director Ken Kwapis was clever enough to make this a metaphor, his movie might be onto something.
No, this is a movie that, however innocently enough, tries to breeze by on the backs of its charming leads, who for the first time in their careers are anything but. John Krasinski (The Office), as Ben, shows his limited range, unable to shake his Jim Halpert-isms, while Mandy Moore, as Sadie, is a nightmare--and they’re not even married yet!
And then there are the cameos, which will go unnoticed by those unfamiliar with NBC’s The Office: Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey, and Brian Baumgartner all peek their heads into the production, wisely ducking out before embarrassing themselves as much as Krasinski.
License to Wed lacks what nearly all lighthearted comedies need to keep the spirits high until credits roll: a comfort zone, something or someone to fall back on when the movie loses (or never finds) its touch. That role here is for Williams—but his Rev. Frank isn’t the good-natured pastor we expect, his intentions less to chop the divorce rate than to open the once-happy couple’s wounds, and pour a gallon of salt in each—we’ve been given Sy Parris when we need Mrs. Doubtfire. His methods perplex us, Viagara humor and downtown pub-stationed group therapy included. And somehow, someway, Rev. Frank is able to incorporate farting robo-babies.
Ask Choir Boy: Now this is just painful—assuming, of course, you couldn’t stand Josh Flitter’s Choir Boy character. Here, he fields 16 questions (or zero, if you’d like) in a mock call-in radio show.