The Wedding Date
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Clare Kilner
scr Dana Fox
with Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Jeremy Sheffield, Sarah Parish, Jack Davenport, Amy Adams, Holland Taylor, Peter Egan, Jolyon James, Helen Lindsay, John Sackville, George Asprey
release US 4.Feb.05, UK 22.Apr.05
05/US Universal 1h28

True professional: Mulroney and Messing

messing mulroney davenport

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The Wedding Date Essentially a reverse-gender remake of Pretty Woman with a little Four Weddings thrown in, this sunny rom-com is perfectly watchable even if it's deeply lazy filmmaking. There's very little thought or wit, but it's still sweeter than most of these things.

Kat (Messing) is a pathetic single woman in New York (is there another kind?) heading off to London for the wedding of her sister (Adams) to a foppy Englishman (Davenport) whose best friend (Sheffield) happens to be Kat's ex. So to make him jealous, Kat hires a handsome escort (Mulroney) to accompany her. Naturally, nothing goes as planned. Until of course it all comes together predictably in the end, with a few tiny twists.

Messing breaks free from her Will & Grace role, but only slightly. She's still neurotic, but in a darker, sadder sort of way. This makes her marginally more likable, especially as she becomes less clingy and uptight as the story progresses. Which doesn't happen for any reason beyond the requirements of the script (which might argues simplistically that it's due to the attentions of a good man). As a comic actress, she's clearly willing to do anything, performing with her entire body and winning us over in the end. Everyone else is exactly what you expect--charming, funny, devious, saucy, self-absorbed. And they all do it well, but without much distinction.

The main problem, besides the general lack of originality, is that the writing and direction are so profoundly unambitious. Everything feels perfunctory, from the montage of London landmarks to the stream of wedding-related set pieces (drinks party, stag/hen nights, weekend in the country, the chaotic ceremony). It's all extremely obvious, replacing subtlety with sap. And badly written sap at that. Each plot point feels stale and overused, and the dialog isn't remotely smart, which makes the characters seem like simpletons--although at least they're not natural comic geniuses, like comedy characters usually are. In the end we go along with it merely because it's there. But I doubt I'll remember anything about this movie 10 minutes from now.

cert 12 themes, language 11.Apr.05

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Wedding Date Donna Carter, Wisconsin: "Have you ever cooked something and while adding spices you added one too many and it changed the flavor and ruined the whole dish? That's how I felt about this movie. On the one hand, it was just right for a funny-but-heart-tugging dramedy, but then they threw something trashy into the plot that sort of turned it kind of tawdry - and I thought that was just too bad. I don't exactly know how they could have left out or changed what they added, but it discolored what was otherwise a delightfully funny, fun movie. Everybody has different taste, however, so you may like the whole thing and not at all mind the twist that I found annoying, even if they did try to turn it into somewhat of a 'moral of the story' in the end." (27.Feb.05)
2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall