LICENSE TO WED
Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) and Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore) are newly engaged and counting the days to be married. Since childhood, Sadie has always dreamed of being married in St Augustine's, but before being blessed by Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), they first have to pass his patented 'foolproof' marriage preparation course, which teaches couples how to communicate and keep their romance alive. Trouble is, the outrageous classes and unexpected homework puts a strain and a big question mark on Ben and Sadie's relationship.
Review by Louise Keller:
It's a bit short of laughs, but there are a few cute ideas in this formulaic, predictable romantic comedy in which Robin Williams' Reverend Frank plays devil's advocate. His marriage preparation course, which he runs like a tv game show, is supposed to be a shake-down for the happy couple Ben and Sadie (John Krasinski and Mandy Moore), in a bid to let them get to know each other through new eyes. Good marriages are Reverend Frank's business and while Williams tries to put as much business as he can into the mix, it's all rather lame.
No sex until the honeymoon, group counselling involving role reversals, word associations with family members over drinks and sexual intimacy sessions in which Reverend Frank prompts Ben and or Sadie to complete the sentence 'I like it when...' are all part of the process the couple has to go through in order to get the go-ahead from the eccentric reverend who bugs their apartment and listens through headphones with his profoundly serious, fat protégée (Josh Flitter). I'm not sure what belly dancing has to do with anything, nor the relevance of fish and bears, and a dog wearing a priest's collar, but Bob Balaban appears as a jeweller who mistakes the letter 'P' for an 'F', when engraving the rings at Ben's request with the words 'Never to Part'. The final communication test when Sadie has to drive blindfolded, while Ben purportedly plays the part of her eyes, is a fizzer of an anti-climax.
My favourite sequence is the one which begins when Reverend Frank takes Ben and Sadie to the maternity ward and ends when they are given dwarf-like plastic twin baby dolls (who foam at the mouth, cry, fart and excrete blue diarrhoea) to get a feel for potential parenthood. Anyone who has ever been a parent will empathise when Ben and Sadie are shopping at Macys with their two impossibly ugly doll-babies plus two borrowed toddlers who run amuck. The crunch comes when Ben takes the dolls into the store's mother's room and hangs one on a hook on the wall, while violently decapitating the other.
It all sounds funnier than it actually is and the film limps along to a predictably happy ending in Jamaica with not only Sadie's whole family, but the rhythm 'n blues choir from Reverend Frank's church, whose sound is apparently heavenly enough to negate the need to hop on a plane.
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LICENSE TO WED (M)
CAST: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Eric Christian Olsen, Christine Taylor,
PRODUCER: Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Nick Osborne
DIRECTOR: Ken Kwapis
SCRIPT: Kim Barker, Tim Rasmussen, Vince Di Meglio
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Bailey
EDITOR: Kathryn Himoff
MUSIC: Christoph Beck
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gae S. Buckley
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 2, 2007