I was actually surprised by this movie. It wasn’t as bad as I expected.
Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski) fall in love at the beginning of the movie and become engaged. They learn that if they want Sadie’s family pastor, Reverend Frank (Robin Williams) to marry them, they’ll have to take his pre-marriage course–condensed from three months to three weeks to accommodate their quickly-approaching wedding date. The prerequisites for Reverend Frank’s course were that the couple successfully complete it and that they refrain from sexual activity until the honeymoon. Of course Ben is horrified by this prospect, though Sadie quickly agrees. From that point forward Reverend Frank either puts the couple into challenging situations, or he spies on them as they go through everyday life–butting in when necessary. However, he has their best interests at heart.
Soon this perfect couple who’d never had a disagreement began to see each other more realistically. They had to acknowledge the personality quirks that had initially seemed cute, but soon began to grate. Sadie had to learn how important it was to rely on Ben instead of her best friend in making decisions; she also had to learn that Ben was unique–that expecting him to behave or think like here was both unfair and unrealistic. And Ben had to learn to speak up for himself and be honest instead of listening to his knuckle-headed friend and losing focus on what mattered.
I like how “toned down” Robin Williams was in this movie. It proves what a great actor he is, since we’ve seen him live and know he … well, he’s got a lot of energy to say the least. He played it pretty cool, but he was still funny. His character, though nosy and somewhat annoying, seemed to be a pretty decent person. A non-hypocrite, if you will. That’s rare in Hollywood’s depiction of Christian figures. I also liked that the couple was challenged to “abstain,” and that despite how much they would’ve liked to give in, they were actually able to hold out. Proves that it is, in fact, possible! However, I did think it was pretty stupid that they still lived together. And I wish Reverend Frank hadn’t been so implicitly accepting of their premarital sexual relationship (before he’d required them to abstain).
The movie was also a nice cast reunion for The Office, one of my favorite TV shows and the home series of John Krasinksi. At one point Ben looked at the camera–it was very Jim-like!
The ending was a little perfect, but then again, this is one of those happy-go-lucky comedies, so I suppose it had to be.
Overall I’d give it a 3/5 stars.