Phase 4 Films // 2007 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // July 7th, 2010
Engagement ring. Wedding ring. Suffering.
A Pre-Cana comedy!
It's the wedding of Bob (Bryan Callen, The Hangover) and Cheryl (Alexie Gilmore, Descent), a big, Catholic affair. When the priest asks Cheryl if she takes Bob (and all that), she looks uncomfortable and then answers, "I do...and I don't." As horrified moans and murmurs break out amidst the attendees, Bob tells the tale of the past few weeks and what led up to this nightmarish moment.
It seems that Bob, a genial screw-up, is not Catholic, and Cheryl's family, which is putting together the wedding, is. To get married in the church, they need Pre-Cana instruction. Bob was supposed to arrange this with the family's priest and didn't, and now all the classes are closed. With the wedding three weeks away, the priest suggests that Bob and Cheryl have one-on-one classes with a long-married couple, Dick (Matt Servitto, Hitch) and Nora (Jane Lynch, Role Models) Stelmack.
Bob and Cheryl are expecting a few, boring, afternoons, but the Stelmacks are anything but dull. He's an oddly fussy guy given to graphic confessionals, and she's a hard-drinking, cigarillo-smoking broad who seems to have eyes for the down-to-Earth Bob.
Bob and Cheryl should have no trouble surviving marriage if they can survive these two. But that's a big "if."
I Do & I Don't is a familiar, occasionally very funny comedy. It's got a quirky '60s vibe to it, from its still-cartoon credit sequence to the "surprising" preamble (which ends with a freeze frame and launches into character narration), to the Cheryl's histrionic family to the bizarre but strangely functional Stelmacks. What you might also find familiar here are the jokes, which offer up the usual riffs on relationships along with the now-expected level of outrageousness from "off-beat" characters. Some scenes between Bob and his chunky, obnoxious friend (Eric Zuckerman, The Bounty Hunter) feel tacked on, as though they're just there to add some "guy talk" to the proceedings.
What I Do & I Don't has going for it is its cast. Gilmore is perky and funny (when given the chance) in the thankless "girlfriend" role. Unfortunately, she's not given enough to do, and Callen's gravelly voiced, slightly befuddled normal guy makes a nice anchor, and he has some good bits, but his role is chiefly to react to what is going on around him. Gilmore and Callen make a believable couple, but many of their scenes together are a little clumsily staged and don't yield enough in the way of laughs.
Matt Servitto seems to be having a blast playing the flamboyantly creepy Dick Stelmack. It's an over-the-top character, but Servitto is able to imbue him with some comic dignity.
But the real reason to see I Do & I Don't is Servitto's co-star.
Has anyone anointed Jane Lynch "The Funniest Woman in America" yet? As with virtually everything else she's appeared in, Lynch steals not only every scene, but every moment she's on screen. She takes the ancient, "frustrated and horny housewife" shtick and makes it seem like something fresh. With dead-on timing and a great mastery of physical comedy, Lynch makes this worth checking out.
The disc gives us a flat-looking picture -- the low-budget is apparent -- and a workable audio track. For extras, we get deleted scenes, a trailer, and some funny tributes to Lynch from Judd Apatow and Christopher Guest.
While it rarely rises above the level of sitcom, I Do & I Don't is amusing enough to warrant a rental. When it's funny, it's genuinely funny; otherwise, it's easy-going and good for a smile.
Review content copyright © 2010 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Phase 4 Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes