The movie studios are getting more and more dastardly. Their latest scheme is to cast films with actors who appeal to wildly divergent markets. Take Evan Almighty, for example. While Steve Carell is definitely OUR kind of people, the plot is strictly Sunday school, squarely aimed at the Bible Belt crowd. The end result? EVERYONE goes, and EVERYONE gets suckered.
Then there's the new estrogen-washed rom-com License to Wed, which heavily features one my current TV star dreamboats, the droll John Krasinski (Jim from The Office). I love this guy. He's got this great, loosey-goosey acting style—like a cross between Hugh Grant and Robert Redford—and I can totally see him as a romantic lead. But then the studios have to sour the deal: "Well, if you want John Krasinski, then you're also going to have to take Mandy Moore and Robin Williams."
NO EFFIN' WAY. I'll take Mandy, because I can IGNORE Mandy. Her cardboard characterization of this film's central cardboard character is dead-on in its cardboard-iness. Like I said, easily ignored. But you can't ignore Robin Williams, because he refuses to let you—not even for a split second. The studios know he's pulling your mom and dad into the cineplex, which means you're going to have to endure an hour and a half of the same tedious improv he's been beating into the ground since Good Morning, Vietnam and Patch Adams.
In License, Williams (Rev. Frank—cue "Can I be frank?" jokes. SNORE!) is a bafflingly popular priest who agrees to marry cute young couple Sadie (cardboardy Moore) and Ben (dreamy Krasinski)—but only if they pass a ridiculously difficult pre-matrimonial preparation course. To make a long (and completely unbelievable) story short: Rev. Frank sadistically drives a wedge between Ben and Sadie to prove the more than obvious point that marriage is hard work. No... shit... SHERLOCK.
Happily, Krasinski gamely throws himself into this nonsense, and makes nearly half of the film bearable. When he was on screen, I smiled. When Robin Williams was on screen, I didn't. But none of that matters when you are subjected to a denouement so fantastically STUPID that you mime stabbing yourself repeatedly in the throat, and scare the nice Asian lady sitting next to you in the theater. We come from different cultures, she and I. (But notably, she hated Robin Williams, too. Upon leaving we agreed: We won't be fooled again.)