Mar 4, 2015

Review: The Wedding Date (2005)

My girlfriend wasn't feeling too well last night so she wanted something easy on the eyes, ears and most importantly, the head. This called for a cheap chick flick and The Wedding Date certainly fit the bill. It clocks in at a generous 90 minutes since in reality it's only 78 minutes if you forget about the credits which no one watches anyway. Based on "chick lit" writer Elizabeth Young's Asking for Trouble, this is a "migraine movie" if I ever saw one.

I'm not much of a Debra Messing connoisseur since she seems to be more of a TV person. Having the titular role of Grace in Will & Grace doesn't mean anything to me since I've never seen more than a few seconds at a time of the show during channel surfing sessions when I actually used to watch TV which was years ago. I've seen her in a handful of other movies, but can't really recall anything noteworthy about her performances. This is her chance to prove herself to me, but I suppose all that really matters is that she finds some chemistry with her co-star Dermot Mulroney and creates a few laughs.


Genre: comedy, romance
Directed by: Clare Kilner
Produced by: Jessica Bendinger, Paul Brooks, Michelle Chydzik Sowa, etc.
Written by: Dana Fox
Music by: Blake Neely
Running time: 90 minutes
Production company: Gold Circle Films, 26 Films, Visionview Production
Distributed by: Universal Pictures, Medusa Distribuzione, Cinema Park, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $15,000,000
Box office: $47,175,038 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Adams, Jack Davenport, Sarah Parish, Jeremy Sheffield, Peter Egan, Holland Taylor, Jolyon James, C. Gerod Harris, Martin Barrett, Jay Simon



Kat Ellis (Debra Messing) is single and faces the dilemma of attending her younger half-sister Amy's (Amy Adams) wedding without a date. Not only that, but her ex-fiance Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield) will be the best man at the wedding. That's why she desperately wants to look happy and make him regret ever having left her. With few options, she hires a professional male escort named Nick Mercer (Dermot Mulroney) to pose as her boyfriend.


The Wedding Date is brashly "women's romance novel on liquidation in a pharmacy" in how it views the world. How else would you explain that Kat happens to be facing the biggest disaster ever in having to go back home to the UK for her half-sisters's wedding without a date, face her crazy family and face her old ex. We eventually learn that Kat really cares about what people think about her which is why she feels the need to hire an escort in the first place.

You can bet that romance will develop between Kat and her hot escort Nick and you can also bet that something will drive them apart before they inevitably make up. Whether it's in the novel or not, screenwriter Dana Fox throws in another relationship for good measure which is the one between half-sister Amy and her soon to be husband Edward Fletcher-Wooten (Jack Davenport).

Amy and Edward's relationship follows the same path obviously, but with a lot less time dedicated to it which renders it pretty ineffective and kind of useless. I would've definitely liked having more time dedicated to Amy Adams and Jack Davenport, but it's not like they were really able to rise above the lackluster script they had to work with.

Now in terms of Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney, it's a veritable mess. You'd think the two were acting with sheets of glass separating each other. That's probably the best description I can give for how awkward they are together. Messing never seems to be able to find her footing in The Wedding Date and Dermot Mulroney looks like he's a washed up piece of driftwood on the beach. I sincerely hope I never have to hear him sing ever again. So if you were asking for chemistry in TWD like I was, don't expect anything more than a chemical explosion.

Manufactured awkward scenes abound in The Wedding Date, making it a difficult movie to get through without cringing inside a little bit. Kat seems to go out of her way to make things as awkward as possible between her and Nick when they first meet until their romance finally develops in a little bit more than the blink of an eye.

That's definitely another problem with this romantic comedy. Everything is undercooked. Since we're in the magical land of chick flicks though, everything is easily understandable because there's nothing new or complicated going on. The familiar movie tropes of marriage, romance and betrayal are all here so it's not like you'll miss anything important.

The soundtrack is also definitely worth a paragraph of its own for the sole reason of how skillfully it panders to its audience. There are literally three songs by Michael Bublé in the soundtrack for The Wedding Date. Count them. THREE. One of them is even reused for the end credits, right after we get the annoying text captions of what happens to all the film's characters. I couldn't believe it, but I also couldn't help but admire such bravery.

The Wedding Date is barren of pretty much everything that makes a romantic comedy any good. There's no romance, no comedy, the main characters don't have any chemistry and pretty much every part of the story is undercooked and relies on familiar tropes to make itself intelligible. Still, it's one of the best examples of "easy watching" I can think of which makes it worth something I guess.



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