STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $19.99
• Trailers
• Deleted Scenes
• Commentary
• "Ask the Choirboy"

The Pitch

It’s an updated version of Meet the Parents, but instead of Robert De Niro as the uptight father, it has Robin Williams as a zany Catholic priest. Oh, and the priest has a creepy, omnipresent, seemingly live-in little boy sidekick. That’s right, the Catholic priest has a little boy sidekick.

The Humans

Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Christine Taylor, Josh Flitter

Baby FreakSnot was the supernatural lovechild of Yul Brynner and Slimer.

The Nutshell

Ben and Sadie are young, carefree, and in love. They seem tailor-made for each other, so when Ben proposes at a family gathering, Sadie accepts, but on one condition: she’s only getting married if they can hold the ceremony in her local church. The catch? The priest (Father Frank, played by Robin Williams) requires that all newlyweds take and pass his rigorous marriage course, which includes attending group sex sessions and refraining from therapy until marriage. Or was it attending group therapy sessions and refraining from sex until marriage? I can’t remember, but at some point a robot baby shits out some blue stuff, which was kind of weird, I guess.

Anyway, Father Frank’s course makes Ben and Sadie reexamine their relationship, and it ends up testing the very foundations of their love. Will their struggle drive them apart, or will it strengthen their bond? If you’ve ever seen a "movie" before, you probably already know the answer!

The Lowdown

License to Wed is God-awful!

One pun down, thirty more to go.

License to Wed is horrid. It’s the worst kind of unfunny, manufactured, over-tested, soulless stuff that we all rail so much against here at CHUD, but that’s not nearly the worst of it. The worst part is that it steals so blatantly from the endless train of Ben Stiller comedy vehicles of the late nineties, especially Meet the Parents. Here’s how:

1) Both films feature loveable (well, in theory), unlucky schlubs on the verge of getting married.

2) Both films feature a wealthy, erudite ex-boyfriend character who serves to infuriate the protagonist.

3) Both films feature antagonistic father figures.

4) Both films feature the "nice guy getting pushed to the edge and finally blowing up" scene, and in very similar fashions.

5) License to Wed includes a nearly shot for shot duplication of the "angry little dog" scene from There’s Something about Mary.

6) License to Wed had a grip named Kennedy and a sound editor named Lincoln. Meet the Parents had a grip named Lincoln and a sound editor named Kennedy. (Ok, that part wasn’t true, but I swear to god that this is: License to Wed had a film editor named "Kathryn Himoff". Don’t you dare name your kid Jack, lady!)

Robin Williams: "So you’re asking me why I’m staging a funeral for my comedy career? That’s like asking why Bill Clinton needs viagra! I DID NOT HAVE COMEDIC RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN! Is that your final answer? YESSSS! It’s like Cuba Gooding, Jr. meets Michael Jackson! SHOW ME THE CHILDREN!"

Stranger: "What in the hell is he talking about?"

Ok, now that I’ve spewed my bile over that nonsense, let’s get to License‘s other major problem: Robin Williams. This is Williams’ worst film. It’s even worse than Bicentennial Man. It makes Hook look like The Bounty. I’m not going to say, "Oh, people aren’t going to take him seriously anymore if he keeps making movies like this! He’d better watch out!", because the time for warnings is long over. If RV, Man of the Year, Patch Adams, or any of the billions of animated features he attaches himself to didn’t convince me, then License pretty much solidifies it: Robin Williams needs to go away. Maybe he just needs a vacation. I just need to not see him on the marquees for a few years. His tragically awful mugging is made worse by License‘s terrible script, but that certainly doesn’t excuse it. To put it succinctly: License takes everything you don’t like about Robin Williams, packs it into a syringe, and injects it into your brain via your eyeballs.

Zemeckis’ original draft of the film Cast Away included an early, vulgar exchange between Chuck Noland and a rescue plane. After accidentally spelling out the words "FUCK ALL PILOTS!" instead of "HELP!" into the sand, Chuck offends an oversensitive rescuer. Chuck attempts to make an apology (shown above), but it comes too late.

What about the other characters? They’re almost all uniformly terrible. I have goodwill for John Krasinski, and I know that License‘s failure isn’t his fault, but I really wish he’d decided to pass on this film. He apes the "Ben Stiller Schlub" throughout the whole movie, from his dialogue delivery to his goofy mannerisms.

Unlike Krasinski, I have no pre-existing goodwill for Mandy Moore, but since her character is a bland caricature of romantic comedy love interests, I can’t make too big of a judgment on her, either. She plays a one note "straight man" role opposite the bumbling Krasinski, and isn’t given all that much to do besides hug her fiancé and look surprised when he does something stupid. Perhaps if she were given the right direction, she’d be able to turn this material into something interesting, but as it stands, she’s a completely forgettable stand-in.

Then there’s the usual cast of stock characters, none of whom make much of an impact or are even worth remembering after the credits roll, with one exception: the "Choir Boy".

"Choir Boy" is really the best thing about License to Wed. "Choir Boy" is Father Frank’s priest-in-training, and he appears with the priest in nearly every scene. He’s a chubby, wisecracking eight-year-old, and he delivers creepy-ass lines such as the following:

Ben: "Jesus, you scared me!"

Choir Boy: "Jesus didn’t scare you. I did."

Hey, that’s almost clever! Don’t get me wrong- Choir Boy isn’t very funny. What’s funny is that NO ONE INVOLVED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM PREVENTED IT FROM FEATURING A DISTURBING PAIR-UP BETWEEN A CATHOLIC PRIEST AND A CHOIR BOY. It’s also a missed opportunity, since there isn’t a single molester joke in the whole film. Honestly, by not featuring a single molester joke, you’re kind of making the molester pre-text even more obvious. They should have just broken the ice and thrown one in there.

In Kubrick’s The Shining, the director originally intended the horrors of room 237 to include a fat kid rooting through your panties, but it was deemed too disturbing for audiences

Besides that, does License to Wed have any other redeemable qualities? Well, I did laugh once. There’s a scene where Ben and Sadie are adding gifts to their wedding registry via a barcode reader, and while Sadie’s preoccupied with examining dishware, Ben runs off behind her and surreptitiously scans in a row of HDTVs. It was only funny to me because I’m recently married, and should not be laughed at by anyone else.

And there’s also the robotic babies, which are unintentionally funny. As part of Father Frank’s course, Ben and Sadie are required to care for a pair of robotic infants. Predictably, they end up being a hassle for the couple, since they cry and ooze liquids at inopportune times. There’s a terrible diaper changing scene (complete with the urine-in-the-face gag that’s been done in every baby movie since Mr. Mom), but it features a horrible close-up of the robotic baby’s rectum as it oozes blue pseudo-waste. I’m thinking of making that my new desktop background!

It’s not that License to Wed is just bad- it’s that it’s insulting. It’s chock full of clichés, steals from other films, and is a total waste of time.

Cyberdine’s T-00001 model wasn’t as successful as later versions; however, it was the only terminator that had the ability to shit toothpaste.

The Package

There are a few extras on the discs, including an "Ask the Choirboy" interactive segment where one can watch the Choir Boy character take phone calls. I use the term "interactive" very loosely, since it’s just a grid of office phone buttons you can cycle through to watch a series of nearly-amusing clips. The Choir Boy might be creepy, but the kid who plays him (Josh Flitter) has pretty good comedic acting chops. Don’t be surprised if you see him in the next Walt Becker vehicle. Oh, what do you know- he’s playing Ace Ventura, Jr. In 2008!

We’re given the standard package of trailers and commentary, along with a group of mostly useless deleted scenes. I say ‘mostly’ useless because there’s a deleted intro segment that’s modeled after Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations. It’s not funny, but at least it’s colorful. Interestingly, by removing this intro, the editors also removed the film’s only title card (shown at the top of this page). This makes License one of the few mainstream films I’ve ever seen without any title cards. If License to Wed pops up on TV, you wouldn’t even know the name of the film, or, more importantly, who to blame for it.

The box art isn’t anything remarkable. The video’s fine, and the audio is an acceptable 3/2.1 mix.

James was born with the ultra rare condition known as hyper-physiomorphic dyslexia. He was born with feet for arms, and an ass where his head should have been. Fortunately, he had arms for legs, and a head where his ass should have been.

2.0 out of 10