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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: License to Wed

Review by Kevin Crossman

License to Wed is a romantic farce anchored by some average to good performances by comedy veterans and up and comers. There are a few big laughs, and lots of medium sized ones in a movie that won't face the change the face of comedy but might make you smile.

Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) is the protagonist in this love story. He meets Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore) and they soon fall in love. During a 30th anniversary party for Jones' parents (Peter Struss and Roxanne Hart), Ben decides to propose. He wants to be married on the beach, but every successful Jones marriage starts at the family church, St. Augustine's. Sadie's older sister Lindsey (Christine Taylor) skipped the church and is now divorced, so there's no other option than St. Augustine's. Ben and Sadie visit the church's charismatic pastor, Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), but find that there is only one wedding slot available in the next two years. And Reverend Frank won't bless Ben and Sadie's union until they pass his patented, foolproof marriage-prep course.

This outline sets up a series of vignette's seemingly designed to torture Ben. First and foremost, there is no sex until the wedding date, three weeks away. Reverend Frank is also assisted by a nameless choir boy (a hilarious Josh Flitter) who trades good cop and bad cop roles with Frank. The choir boy even breaks into Ben and Sadie's apartment to install a eavesdropping device. Krasinski does a good job allowing the audience to empathize with his plight during these increasingly ridiculous obstacles.

Williams is good, but this won't got into his hall of fame of memorable roles. Krasinski doesn't quite have the heft to carry the whole thing on his shoulders but this is his first cinematic starring role. Mandy Moore is fine as the pretty, sweet, straight-woman here. Christine Taylor has aged so now she is forced to play the older sister like Leslie Mann in Knocked Up. Unfortunately, Taylor isn't given much to do except for a couple weakly written one-liners.

The movie is directed by Ken Kwapis (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), a veteran director of Kraskinski's TV show, The Office. Additionally, The Office costars Angela Kinsey, Mindy Kaling, and Brian Baumgartner were in this movie, which was sort of distracting as they kept popping up throughout the movie. That said, Baumgartner had several funny moments including a hilarious exchange with Rachael Harris. Wanda Sykes has a funny cameo as well. By far the funniest role belongs to "choir boy" Josh Flitter. It's an original role and Flitter does a great job.

If you're looking for some light-hearted romantic fun, you could do a lot worse than License to Wed. Though it's hardly original, there's a lot to make you smile and to enjoy watching the story unfold.

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