The Wedding Date

on February 04, 2005 by Bridget Byrne
"The Wedding Date" is the sort of movie that major TV series stars make during summer hiatus. Debra Messing, famous for "Will & Grace," plays Kat, a jilted woman who needs a glamorous escort in order to save face at her sister's wedding, where the best man is her ex-fiancé. She hires Nick, who "escorts" for a living. Apart from -- or possibly because of -- his job choice, he's depicted as everything a modern woman's heart desires. Dermot Mulroney, showcasing his genuinely glamorous side but not chucking away his acting chops, fits the role up to the hilt. Quite how he accomplishes this in a scenario which, despite a few seconds of charm and wit, is riddled with cliché, and in situations where there is a sore lack of chemistry between the leading stars -- or anyone else for that matter -- is hard to understand. But he pulls it off. Messing's performance is more problematic as she tries to pump as much life as possible into the emotionally confused Kat, but ends up being merely annoying.

The film indulges itself in beauty shots, not just of Mulroney, but also of the English countryside where the wedding takes place. The supporting cast includes English actors Peter Egan, Jeremy Sheffield, Jack Davenport and Sarah Parish doing their best Brit stuff, while Amy Adams and Holland Taylor hold up the American side of the bargain. There are the expected jokes about cricket and baseball and many obvious clothing placement plugs amid all the chat about sex and love and relationships.

Romantic comedy is a tough genre to pull off in this crass and explicit day and age. This movie gives it a perky try, but its formula, unlike its hired-for-the-occasion leading man, just isn't the right package. Starring Debra Messing and Dermont Mulroney. Directed by Clare Kilner. Written by Dana Fox. Produced by Nathalie Marciano, Michelle Chydzik Sowa, Jessica Bendinger and Paul Brooks. A Universal release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue. Running time: 93 min

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