"License To Wed" is directed by Ken Kwapis whose previous experience is mostly in television, shows like "The Bernie Mac Show" and also at least nine episodes of "The Office". This light-hearted romantic comedy is mainly to help one of "The Office" stars (John Krasinski as Ben Murphy, the groom in waiting) hopefully break into feature length films, and it had to seem like a certain hit for all involved, especially with the star power of Robin Williams on board as the irreverent and wacky Reverend Frank and of course the youth appeal of Mandy Moore as Sadie Jones, the hopeful bride to be. I went in with an open mind because I certainly don't object to a little mindless entertainment once in a while, and Williams is always fun to watch even when he is only there for the paycheck.
The film starts off by introducing the two main characters Sadie and Ben, who decide that they have to get married. Ben initially wants a wedding in the Caribbean but after meeting with her strange and rich family (isn't everybody so well off in these films?) they all agree that the wedding must take place at the family church, St. Augustine's.
But first they must meet with Reverend Frank, who acts an awful lot like Robin Williams. He is playing a demented and religious version of "Family Squares" with a classroom of children. After introducing himself and his child assistant Choir Boy (Josh Flitter) who looks like a cross between Damien and Jack Black as a 12-year old, they lay out the rules if the couple wants to wed.
First, it has to take place in three weeks unless they want to wait for a few years, and in order for it to be arranged they must pass a course devised by the Reverend himself.
Second, in order to pass the course, they must participate 100 percent with whatever tests they must endure in order to receive his blessing. Also, no sex during the course, which will prove to be difficult since they live together; and they must also write vows.
Anyway, we see where this is going, we just don't know how far it will go exactly, and that is one of the problems with this comedy. The Reverend, with Choir Boy faithfully at his side, arranges several outrageous episodes to follow. Including a driving sequence where Sadie is blindfolded and Ben must give her directions from the backseat, which ensues utter chaos. Rev. Frank also tries to have a man-to-man talk with Ben and almost breaks his nose with a baseball, presents a game at a family gathering where everyone must say the first word that comes to mind about Ben and Ben that turns into an embarrassing nightmare of a situation. They also stalk the poor couple outside of their apartment and listen in on their nightly chatter through a bugging device.
Sadly, the comedic peak of the whole film is the scene you have no doubt watched on all of the talk shows and advertisements, because it is really all the film has to offer. A sight gag involving ridiculously obnoxious and frightening twin babies that can be amusing at times, but could have been done much better and much funnier if other talent than those at hand had been in control. I mean Krasinski is funny and likable and all of that, but this physical comedy routine perhaps required a little something different. Instead Krasinski goes through the whole film acting cocky and basically like Chevy Chase, which is fine I guess.
Krasinski eventually discovers the room is bugged and consults his stereotypical friend Joel Kaling (DeRay Davis) who always gives him the worst advice you could possibly give someone and who acts as if being married is a prison of some sort. From here the film predictably goes in directions we knew it would and we also have the montage sequences and all of that.
Several guest appearances from other "Office" cast members fill the flick, but you may as well put in an episode of that excellent and brilliant comedy, since all you have here is just a few laughs and the movie as a whole is definitely a waste of money and talent. And I'm sure everyone out there reading this knows exactly how this film ends because we've seen it all before, sadly.
This film is a forgettable waste of time. But I'm sure everyone was well paid, and I know there is an audience out there for this kind of harmless fluff, otherwise they would stop making and putting the product out there, and this film is first and foremost just that…product. And my advice is to not consume it.
The picture, though, is actually quite nice to look at. It fills the screen at an aspect ratio of 2.4:1 and the colors really pop out at you. This film looks great in 1080p. All of the details in the background are easy to make out and very clear and I didn't notice any instances of pixelation or edge-enhancement and the many bright day lit scenes come through quite nicely, not to mention the black levels, which are dead on. An altogether impressive looking disc.
On the flip side of this combo disc is the DVD version, and I can't think for the life of me why the studio would choose this disc as a combo release. The only films I can even justify a combo release are family features and special effects films, certainly not a film like this, and even those are questionable, perhaps these combo releases are not necessary at all.
And of course the audio shines on this disc very nicely because it is presented in Dolby TrueHD, but we also have the choice of Dolby Digital Plus. Certainly an odd choice for such showcase audio, but I'm not complaining. Not that is at all necessary to have such a wide sound field since the surround is kept to a minimum due to the very nature of the film itself, but I did notice some impressive effects during certain scenes, the background sounds of crowds gathered at the church and the sounds of the city are very well done, but really most of the action is up front. Still, it sounds great.
Thankfully Warner has spared us the special features on this one, as they would undoubtedly be unbearable and a waste of even more time, much like the film itself. What we do have instead are some completely expendable additional scenes that run about 12 minutes (although the alternate animated opening is something different at least) and a relationship/marital question answer game involving Choir Boy. The scenes are in non anamorphic standard def and the Choir Boy game is anamorphic standard definition.
Well, I would rather sit through "RV" than have watched this film. If you want an intelligent and well done take on relationships, go out and buy "Knocked Up" instead. My advice really is to skip this one entirely, even though the audio and video are both top notch.