The Wedding Date Review
By Shawn McKenzie 02/04/2005
By now, if you have seen enough chick flicks, you have to admit that they will end the same. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and then it ends happy. I get it. Sometimes, despite the clichéd formula, a chick flick can still be entertaining, if not predictable. That is the case with The Wedding Date.
Kat Ellis (Debra Messing) is a customer service rep for Virgin Atlantic. She has to fly from New York to London for her half-sister Amy’s (Amy Adams) wedding, and she isn’t looking forward to it, because she is no longer engaged to her ex-fiancé, Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield), a man she was with for seven years. To make matters worse, the groom, Edward Fletcher-Wooten (Jack Davenport), is Jeffrey’s best friend and best man in the wedding. Since she has no boyfriend, and she wants to make Jeffrey jealous, she decides to hire a male escort named Nick Mercer (Dermot Mulroney), the “Yoda of escorts,” to pose as her boyfriend. She pays him $6000 for the gig (though he also notes that it will be an extra $300 for sexual favors, which she thinks is morally repugnant.) Kat is also not too excited to reunite with her family, including mom Bunny (Holland Taylor), stepfather Victor (Peter Egan), and cousin TJ (Sarah Parish.) Actually, it seems like she mostly isn’t as crazy about her mother, since the woman never seems to have a kind word about her. She loves Victor, the father of Amy, and considers him a “hostage” in this crazy family. Kat is also somewhat friendly with TJ, who likes an old college boyfriend of Kat’s named Woody (Jolyon James), a bartender at a local pub. When Kat and Nick arrive at her parent’s house, he manages to charm everyone there. He also manages to calm her down from her neuroses, which helps her and makes her acknowledge how good he is at his job and how he is worth every penny she paid him. It was especially worth it when Kat is successful in making Jeffrey jealous that she has found such a great new man. When complications and family secrets start popping up, things start going badly, and it is just around the same time that both Kat and Nick start falling for each other.
Based on the novel Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young, the movie is “Will & Grace” star Messing’s first lead role. I guess it was a safe bet that she would choose a “romantic comedy” to headline in, and this one worked for her. She has good chemistry with Mulroney, and it wasn’t hard to picture the two of them falling in love with each other.
Messing is a decent comedic actress, but she hasn’t always been the funniest part of whatever she has been involved in. On “W&G,” she may be the lead, but she seems to play second fiddle to Megan Mullally’s Karen Walker. On her former FOX sitcom “Ned and Stacey,” she wasn’t nearly as funny as her co-star, the Oscar-nominated Thomas Haden Church. Fortunately, in this movie, she is the one we focus on and enjoy, and she garners more laughs than the ones who are “supposed” to be funny, like Taylor and Parish.
The Wedding Date is predictable (I’m just glad it didn’t have an obligatory airport scene at the end, though it was close), but it was cute. It liberally borrows from movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding and Picture Perfect, with a sprinkle of Pretty Woman thrown in (just for the male escort aspect), but if you are going to steal from other movies…steal from the best. Guys won’t like it, but there are far worse movies that they could be dragged to by their wives or girlfriends. Just in case, women should probably just bring their other female friends with them, if for no other reason than to ogle at Mulroney. Another thing I was glad to see was that this movie wasn’t as bad as director Clare Kilner’s last flick, How to Deal. That movie was just average, and this one was a movie that I actually enjoyed to some extent (since I’m such a “sensitive new age guy.”) Gals…check it out this weekend when your significant other is back home watching the Super Bowl. Maybe you can convince him next weekend to see it for Valentine’s Day!
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