by BEN KROMER & r & & r & License to Wed & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & developed a mild man-crush on John Krasinski from watching him in The Office. Now, thanks to License to Wed, I'm over it. Maybe it was his close proximity to Robin Williams. Maybe it was seeing him peed on by a biomechanoid baby. Maybe it was the idea that he would go for Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore), who seems to have had her personality airbrushed away.
In The Office, Krasinki's character affably tolerates the irritants in his life because it's his job. In this movie, the irritants are his fianc & eacute;e, her family and their favorite reverend, and I suspect Krasinski only tolerates them because his character, Ben Murphy, is subject to the Laws of Romantic Comedy, and therefore not allowed to get fed up until near the end of the movie. To get to that inevitable end -- which indeed was all I could think about for 90 minutes -- Ben proposes. Sadie agrees but wants to be married by Rev. Frank -- who consents, but requires a series of odd (stupid) pass-or-fail pre-marriage counseling sessions. The rest is the same as Meet the Parents with Frank as the Robert DeNiro character. I wonder how Robin Williams feels about the fact that, given similar roles, Robert DeNiro is funnier than him.
A little more about that monster baby: It was half of a set of twin fake infants full of metal parts and imitation bodily fluids given to the couple to prepare them for the horrors of child rearing. You may recognize this comedic premise from the first couple hundred times you saw it on TV. The filmmakers, who don't deserve the distinction of individual names, thought 15 minutes of Ben and Sadie carrying around pink cyborgs would be passable entertainment. They were wrong, but it's worth noting that you'll remember the horrible, Eraserhead children longer than you'll remember anything else from License to Wed.
Later, Rev. Frank has Ben navigate while Sadie drives a car blindfolded. I imagine how funny an audience member finds this sequence will be in direct proportion to how funny they think almost getting into a car wreck is, because there's nothing else going on -- just the thrill of seeing actors pretending to be driving recklessly.
Robin Williams as Rev. Frank combines the wacky fun we all associate with Episcopalians with the dedication of an experienced stalker, all while being a little off-kilter and not revealing what his motives might be. If that sounds strange, it is. In fact, I briefly suspected that Rev. Frank might start killing people halfway through the movie. That'd be something, if the advertising campaign was a big hoax and License to Wed was actually one of Robin Williams dark movies, like Insomnia or One Hour Photo, with a huge Hitchcock twist in the middle to shock the audience who showed up for a cute PG romantic comedy.