The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date is one of those formulaic romantic comedies you can see a mile away.  Regardless of its basic predictability, it fails two basic tests.  There isn’t a single convincing romance among the pairings nor are there enough laughs.  4 such guffaws are not enough to recommend this depressing mess.
Here’s the set-up:  a beautiful redhead (Debra Messing from Will & Grace), still hung up on a jerk who dumped her years ago and surprisingly incapable of finding a suitable replacement to start anew, contacts a highly sought after male escort (Dermot Mulroney).  Her younger, self-absorbed sister (Oscar nominee Amy Adams), is getting married in England and her former fiance, the aforementioned jerk, is the best man.  Messing’s hired Mulroney to play her new boyfriend, a therapist.  The idea is to drive her ex so jealous that he’ll somehow beg for her to come back to him (or does she just want to show him that she’s moved on?), which speaks lowly of her character.  She still has the engagement ring, among other mementos from that pitiful relationship.
When we meet her former fiance we wonder what she ever saw in him.  We also wonder why we should care whether they stay separated from each other or rekindle their uninteresting romance.  It’s clear right from the get-go who she’ll most likely end up with, anyway.  Too bad she generates zero chemistry with Mulroney, as well.
Messing is the disappointment of her family.  Despite being the popular girl in high school years ago, she now works at an airport in New York.  Not exactly glamourous, even though one wishes Air Canada had customer service representatives as understanding as her.  (Despite her boss’s protestations, on the day she’s supposed to fly out to Europe, she gives an angry customer a full refund and 10,000 free air miles because of an inconvenience he suffered.)  Her mother (a literally wasted Holland Taylor) tries to make a toast at a public get-together before the wedding but ends up embarrassing her eldest daughter by basically bemoaning the fact she’s still unmarried. 
She’s also a doormat.  There’s a scene early in the film when Amy Adams wants Messing’s alcoholic beverage and she won’t drink it until her older sister slides it right to her on a particular spot on the table they’re both sitting at.  It turns out they’ve had a frosty relationship since a boy came between them when they were kids.  We later find out this isn’t an isolated incident.
Messing pays Mulroney 6000 dollars cash to keep her company during her entire stay in England.  Sexual activity costs extra.  Inevitably, there are scenes where they appear to be developing real feelings on the inside for each other while simultaneously "pretending" on the outside for the benefit of the family and Messing’s ex, not to mention obligatory moments of arguing.  That all leads to an unsexy love scene in a boat where the "fake" naked couple simply canoodle.  And that leads to an argument about whether they actually went all the way or not and whether Mulroney should be compensated for these extra services.  They go to a dance lesson with the future bride and groom with their ridiculous dispute still unresolved.  After moving about on the dance floor, though, all is forgotten.  That would’ve been effective if they actually had an authentic chemistry together.
You can tell this is a bad chick flick when there’s an obligatory "I can’t believe I saw his penis!" scene.  Mulroney jumps out of the shower and Messing gets a really close view of his private parts.  The way she reacts you would think she was a 13-year-old making a shocking discovery.  Like that famous portrait of Cosmo Kramer, she cannot look away.  I’m guessing Ron Jeremy was a stand-in.  No wonder she’s single.
In the movie’s third act, a betrayal is revealed which actually leads to a terrific dramatic scene involving Messing and Adams.  It also leads to the film’s funniest sequence.  Unfortunately, it’s all for naught.  Let’s just say if I learned something devastating about someone I was minutes away from marrying, no promises of life long "make-up sex" would ever make me go through with the ceremony.  Call me crazy but I would have a hard time trusting that person after hearing that last-minute confession and I would be too pissed off to pretend it’s not a big deal, either.
The Wedding Date is not a complete waste.  I liked Messing’s British stepfather, who is the sweetest character in the film, and Mulroney has his moments playing the handsome, mysterious escort completely in his element among swooning females.  There’s even some good musical selections (although, we could be spared from all those Michael Buble songs).  But the film is miserable to watch.  There’s very little joy to get swept up in.  Despite clocking in at a tight 89 minutes, it crawls to the finish line.  Almost all of the jokes bomb, there’s not one romance worth cheering for and this is not exactly a film loaded with surprises. 
And honestly, is it really believable that, one, Messing would even need to pay for a date, and two, Mulroney would give up a lucrative career for her?
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, June 8, 2007
12:39 a.m.
Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 12:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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