ranters and ravers

The Outlier: The One Critic Who Liked ‘License to Wed’

Courtesy of Warner Brothers

The trailer; the posters; the smirking, hirsute presence of Robin Williams — everything about License to Wed, other than the befuddling presence of adorable John Krasinski and Mandy Moore, looks horrible. Nearly every critic in America agrees, as the Warner Brothers “comedy” has garnered a stinky Metacritic score of 30.

But amid the cries of “dreadful,” “moronic,” “lethal,” “greasy,” and “ghastly,” one voice in the wilderness boldly praises the movie. We call this critic The Outlier.

He is Lawrence Toppman at the Charlotte Observer, and his review of License to Wed is headlined “Marital advice comedy comes as a ‘License’ you’ll want to get.”

So is Lawrence Toppman right? Fifty years from now, as film scholars prepare the Criterion Collection edition of License to Wed, will they look back and say, “Why, oh, why, didn’t anyone listen to Lawrence Toppman?”

Williams’ manic personality works well on screen when he’s meant to be annoying, not lovable. So he’s at his best when Frank’s running a “Family Feud”-style Sunday school about the biblical commandments or provoking Ben to humiliate himself in front of his future in-laws.


The Outlier: The One Critic Who Liked ‘License to Wed’