Archive for the ‘robin williams’ Category

License to Wed review/my take on the film’s sexual undertones
July 9, 2007

First of all, my apologies that I’m not posting these reviews as I see them right away. I also felt the need to see the movie twice to really get a firm grasp on it, because I know they lose relevance, the longer you wait. On to the review:

License to Wed (2007): 2 1/2 Stars
Directed by Ken Kwapis, Starring Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Robin Williams, Christine Taylor, Josh Flitter, Peter Strauss

Robin Williams stars as Reverend Frank, an affable but unconventional priest who puts a couple (Krasinski and Moore) through a rigorous drill camp of sorts to make sure they’re ready to get married.

Groom-to-be Ben Murphy is portrayed as a rugged All-American guy by Krakinski, with little-to-no-variation of his character on The Office*. The problem is that little variation that Krasinski tries to bring here is too little for us to be able to escape seeing him in Jim and this is a context in which Jim comes off as far less likable. On The Office, Jim is the hero because he rallies the morale for all the workers, he sticks up for his idiotic boss, and he keeps Dwight, the office stiff, at bay. In this film he treats Robin Williams’ Reverend Frank as if he were Dwight, all because he wants to have sex with his fiancee and comes off as a suck-up to his in-laws rather than a sincere guy.

Mandy Moore, part of the annoying trend, of singers wanting to promote their latest album through acting (did anyone notice she has a CD coming out this week?). As Sadie, she is a little too cutesy-wutsey for the part, but she has at least a couple moments where she demonstrates good comic timing.

I’ve usually found that Robin Williams can do no wrong and this film is no exception. I read a review in the Washington Post, by Stephen Hunter, on opening day that had the title “Disturbingly Funny” that goes on to say that the film was filled with dark undertones and that Robin William’s character here was similar to the creepy voyeuristic guy in One Hour Photo, who wants to split the couple up in order to be with Sadie. While it took me a while to reconcile my preconceived notions from reading the review with what the film was actually about, I ended up disagreeing with Hunter but I think it says a lot for the talent of Robin Williams that that much complexity can be read into this role. It’s true that Reverend Frank spies on the couple and has a scene where he starts to talk dirty to Sadie. Maybe these perceived sexual undertones might have to do with our increased infatuation in our my space society of sexual predators or the recent Catholic church-scandal, but I think the voyeuristic nature of Reverend Frank fits within the comic framework. The more creepy Reverend Frank gets, the more nervous Ben is, and that’s what creates comic tension. Besides, the beginning and ending of the film indicate that Frank is meant to be a good-although-unconventionally-aggressive guy.

The film isn’t really fully realized but I give it 2 1/2 stars (which means not good or bad) because I think it’s a noble effort and will keep people fairly engaged. The film’s ending is a little haphazardly tacked on, but the film plays out through a series of comic gags (i.e. Ben being forced to play word association with his in-laws, Ben playing an aggressive game of Catch with his minister, the couple being forced to adopt robotic babies) and I definitely heard an ample amount of laughter in my theater as these gags played out.

*Office fans will be happy to note that Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner and Mindy Kaling have bit roles in the films