THE WEDDING DATE (Clare Kilner, 2005)
THE WEDDING DATE answers that age-old question about what to do when a single person must go to a matrimonial ceremony at which their ex-fiancé will be in attendance. Why, pay an escort to be your companion, of course! Facing this dilemma is Kat, played by Debra Messing. Rather than show up without a date at her sister’s London wedding, she drops thousands of dollars on Dermot Mulroney’s stud-for-hire Nick.
When romantic comedies work, they often reflect the measures people take to fall in love. Even when characters in the genre exaggerate their actions, there’s still something familiar in what they’re doing. THE WEDDING DATE reveals no trace of recognizable human behavior in it. Neither of the main characters is ever defined beyond broad sitcom brushstrokes. Messing and Mulroney struggle mightily and fail to give Kat and Nick personalities or reasons for how they conduct themselves. The scenario is a screenwriter’s invention combining PRETTY WOMAN, with a gender reversal of the main characters, and a splash of the BRIDGET JONES movies thrown in for some British flavor. Things occur because someone saw it once in another romantic comedy, not because people are this way. THE WEDDING DATE is one of the worst romantic comedies I’ve seen in a long time.
(Review first aired on the February 15, 2005 NOW PLAYING)