Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 17th, 2007
I like Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting). A lot. Generally, his presence alone is enough to make me watch a particular movie — an unfortunate fact, given his spotty record. The man can be hilarious, and he has starred in some highly entertaining films over his long career. But he’s also done bad movies, flops and failures. License to Wed is one of those.
10 minutes in, I wanted to turn it off. At 18 minutes, I was actively mocking everything and anything onscreen. By the half-way point, I was cursing my obligation as reviewer to sit through the entire film. This movie is an all-around bust. Stop reading now, and check out some other Upcomingdiscs reviews for better films to watch. You can pretty much close your eyes and click to find something that’ll top License to Wed.
Newly engaged couple Ben (John Krasinski, The Office) and Sadie (Mandy Moore, A Walk to Remember) must pass a marriage preparation course supervised by Sadie’s family’s longtime minister, Reverend Frank (Williams). As you might expect, this involves the Reverend — aided by his young apprentice (Josh Flitter, Nancy Drew) — bugging the couple’s bedroom, embarrassing Ben in front of his future in-laws, and doing pretty much anything else that might drive Sadie away from her husband-to-be. Of course, it takes forever for anyone to realize the Reverend is a complete nut-job who’s ruining everything, while they victimize Ben at every turn. From the first scene on, you know exactly how this one’s going to play out.
When did Robin Williams stop being funny? A few years back, I nearly wet myself watching his 90-minute HBO comedy special. But lately, the man’s shtick has been weak and wonky, making even a long-time fan like me want to press ‘stop’ and switch to Disney’s Aladdin for some classic Williams hilarity. In License to Wed, Williams is so unfunny it’s difficult to watch, rendering the Reverend an annoying, creepy character you wish had been cut from the film entirely.
Moore and Krasinski aren’t so bad, thankfully. Moore continues to prove she’s the best of Hollywood’s more recent crop of singers-turned-actors, and Krasinski, who has achieved fame with TV’s The Office, manages to retain at least some dignity as his character is subjected to the most poorly executed premise since Pluto Nash took to the skies.
The only true bright note of License to Wed is when the credits roll, for two reasons: the film is finally over, and we’re treated to some chuckle-worthy outtakes that seem downright hilarious after sitting through the rest of the movie.
License to Wed is presented on a single disc, in both 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-screen format. I ignored the full-screen presentation, as should you. The widescreen transfer looks quite good, with vibrant colours, solid blacks and a more than acceptable level of detail. It’s nice to see a DVD executed properly, even so many years after the format’s inception. So while there isn’t much of particular visual interest in License to Wed, what you do see at least looks as good as you can expect.
The disc’s main audio presentation is Dolby Digital 5.1, and while I suppose it sounds just fine, that isn’t saying much. License to Wed is one of the most aurally sparse movies I’ve heard in quite some time, so we’re basically just talking about dialogue, a lifeless soundtrack and infrequent ambient effects. It’s heavy on the centre channel and not much else, but I suppose the disc still deserves decent marks. It’s not the DVD’s fault that the film lacks any sort of punch.
Audio is also available in French and Spanish in Dolby Digital 2.0, while subtitles are offered in English, French and Spanish.
Keeping the theme alive, License to Wed has very little to offer in the extras department. All we get is a short-ish collection of extended/deleted scenes, of which most are no worse than what made the final cut, and Ask the Choirboy a somewhat-creative featurette that allows you to choose from some prepared questions for the annoying Choirboy to answer in a “radio show.” After that, there’s just a bunch of WB trailers.
License to Wed is the worst film I’ve seen all year. I have nothing else to add.