In its opening moments, as License to Wed zips through the courtship of Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski), positioning them for an encounter with wacky pre-cana guru Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), you can see the filmmakers make a choice. As soon as the characters beam at each others’ mild jokes, the film goes for cute-funny rather than actually-funny, a wan compromise between farce and feeling. Just look at Williams: restrained (by his comic standards) while maintaining a few hammy touches, he can’t decide which lazy performance the movie requires. (His character may be vaguely Catholic, but don’t expect real religious jokes.)
Krasinski’s reactive minimalism, which seems so natural on The Office, doesn’t translate to what amounts to a traditional sitcom (faintly amusing cameos from several Office-mates notwithstanding). Suddenly his flat, flabbergasted utterances of “wow” sound like a tic. Moore, meanwhile, is depressingly at home; License to Wed provides a dreary bookend to her Because I Said So from earlier this year, twin monuments to a talented actress’s lousy taste in warmedies.
Opens July 6