Saturday, August 18, 2007

License to Wed

No Sex Until We're Married

Marriage is serious stuff. I've come to realize that it takes a lot of commitment and trust in order to walk down the aisle and dedicate your entire lifetime from that point onwards to the welfare of another human being, and that's not counting the fact that some kids would be in tow in the future as well. Forever is a very long time, and just how sure are you to say "I Do" to the significant other, that the relationship should at least stay the same, or in the best case, improve and grow from strength to strength. If someone has problems keeping promises, then an eternal vow, wow.

With the divorce rates climbing, you wonder how folks of the older generation manage to stick through thick and thin, when the general attitude these days could be as easy as throwing in the towel at the slightest sense of frustration. And you also wonder, does marriage counselling work? I dunno, cos I'm neither married nor gone through one of those courses before. But I suppose during those courses, a couple is put through the motion of expected problems that could creep up, and given tips and tricks on how to effectively deal with them.

And that's what License to Wed is all about, although the trained person dishing out the advice, is Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), a man of God. Religious beliefs aside, I thought the movie actually had placed a bit of focus on having showcased multitudes of potential marital problems, for an audience to journey through with soon-to-be-weds Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) and Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore). It also raked up the many doubts one would have in a relationship, especially one approaching matrimony. While highlighting these issues are good, it only meant that comedy had to be sacrificed in competing for screen time.

Which made it a little strange for a supposed Robin Williams comedy, to be sans comedy. What we have instead are a few insipid jokes sprinkled here and there, with probably one or two attempts that are genuinely rib-tickling. Having Josh Flitter from Nancy Drew casted here as Reverend Frank's protege, also seemed a bit of a miscast, as the pair didn't really have much chemistry together as partners in crime. Williams' own recent comedic movies like RV and Man of the Year, while not 100% funny, do still have their moments. But in License to Wed, he seems to be his own supporting character, while Krasinski and Moore soak up most of the screentime as the film placed attention on the pre-marital issues and woes.

With some of the better jokes already shown in the trailer, that's quite an indication on how the rest of the movie will turn out. It's quite plain sailing, and sometimes feeling a bit episodic with scenes placed side by side without much thought for proper transitioning in narrative. Williams without being presented the opportunity to improvise and ad-lib, well, tells a lot of the potential that is wasted. It took the outtakes to actually showcase what he could have done, and what the movie could have become, and then you realize that some bits have ended up on the cutting room floor. A shame.

License to Wed isn't exactly Williams giving a vintage performance. Like I mentioned, it's a supporting role at best, and in my opinion, this movie's more suited to couples who are about to walk down the aisle - are you so sure of the partner you're gonna spend eternity with? Stay tuned for the animation that play during the end credits, after the outtakes.

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