This little comedy, now available on video, feels like it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. At times it treads the path of “normals shocked by weirdos” forged by such films as Four Christmases or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. At other times, a satire of — well, something — seemed to be brewing, but never gelled. About-to-be-wed Alexie Gilmore and Bryan Callen are forced to attend last-minute pre-cana counseling with married couple Matt Servietto and Jane Lynch. This is where the farce or mayhem or something should ensue, but I Do serves more as a showcase for characters to be weird to no purpose.
Pre-cana, a term with which I was unfamiliar, is the required pre-marital counseling for a couple wishing to marry in the Catholic Church. Except for this being a practical/administrative requirement for their nuptials to take place, the pre-cana aspect has zero philosophical or metaphysical impact on the movie. It might have been interesting to commit to some kind of religious context for this young couple (who don’t seem a particularly good match), or conversely it could have been interesting to commit to mocking the arcane requirements that have no bearing on the day to day lives of these clearly non-practicing people. Like the film’s title, though, I Do & I Don’t can’t seem to take any side, daring or not. Please do not confuse it with the chick lit title and adaptation I Do But I Don’t, which is a delightful book (though doubtless a forgettable movie).
It should come as no surprise that a movie couple being counseled by another (especially one that includes the redoubtable Jane Lynch) is going to get something weird and unexpected — well, unexpected by them; the audience sure knows. Servietto and Lynch are both screenwriters’ angels. They can do so much with a line reading and a character that when they are onscreen, you might not notice the story going nowhere and the jokes falling flat. Gilmore and Callen have the thankless role of reacting to this unlikeable, unlikely pair. Gilmore has little more to do than be brittle and impatient; Callen at least gets into horribly awkward situations with both Lynch and Servietto.
So, without spoiling anything, our couples meet and awkwardly interact, and end up achieving nothing — no growth, no realizations, no great understanding of their happiness or unhappiness or what marriage is or anything. The beginning of the movie tells us whether they successfully completed the task; the end of the movie tries to force the title to work. Lynch and Servietto are weird, but it works for them, so nothing happens there either. All drama, even comedy, is about change or progress. I Do & I Don’t serves as a puppet show slice of life of gags, and then life goes on as before. Meh.
MPAA Rating R- crude and sexual content, nudity, language and some drug material.
Release date 7/20/10
Time in minutes 83
Director Steven Blair
Studio Phase 4 Films