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United States, 2005
Directed By: Clare Kilner
Written By: Dana Fox, from a book by Elizabeth Young
Starring: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney
Running Time: 88 minutes
Rated PG-13 for adult language and sexual situations
Name a good movie that begins with the words “The Wedding.” Go ahead—think of one. The Wedding Singer? Yeah, no. The Wedding Party? Not so much. The Wedding Planner? Ugh. Do I really need to name any more here? Good. Now guess whether The Wedding Date is worth seeing.
I’m not sure what it is about those two words. Most likely, cynical, misogynist Hollywood producers assume that everyone of the gender known as “female” will hear them and come running, regardless of how awful the film is. It may be too late to prove them wrong with The Wedding Date, but I call on women everywhere to send a message to Hollywood by staying home next time you see an ad for The Wedding Cake, The Wedding Squirrel, The Wedding-flavored Toothpaste, or The Wedding was Terrible but the Hors D’oeuvres were Good and Maybe on the Way Home We Can Go Out for Waffles.
That said, I can think of one good thing to report about The Wedding Date: it’s short. Less than an hour and a half, credits included. Perhaps because they figured anyone who’d seen a romantic comedy knew the plot already. But here it is, for those who haven’t: Debra Messing plays Kat, a fairly generic American twentysomething who gets invited to come to England for her sister Amy’s (Amy Adams) wedding. Problem #1: she doesn’t have a date. Problem # 2: her ex-boyfriend (Jeremy Sheffield) is the best man. Solution to both problems: she hires a male escort. Nick (Dermot Mulroney) charges her a small fee of $6,000 to fly to England with her and pretend to be her boyfriend. (And now you know that the titular Dateis a person, not a spot on the calendar, or, possibly, a piece of fruit.) Along the way, she and Nick get to know each other, and we all know where this is going now, I hope.
Put simply, there’s nothing terrible about The Wedding Date, but I defy anyone to watch this film and remember anything about it, aside from some casual nudity and one of the worst renditions of Air Supply ever (yes, even worse than Air Supply themselves). No one involved seems particularly interested in the project—all the actors pretty much phone it in here, and the script is even more pedestrian than you might expect.
Director Clare Kilner also evidently neglected one of the important ingredients of romantic comedy here—the comedy. It’s sad when the funniest moment of a motion picture is Dermot Mulroney singing Air Supply—and I assure you it’s a lot funnier to read about than to hear. As for the romance, it’s somewhat there, although it quickly degenerates into a soap-opera style argument about who-had-sex-with-whom-and-in-what-positions.
In a word, most of us can probably think of better things to do with an hour and a half than watch this film. The only saving grace is probably the beautiful photography, but then again, it’s hard to make the English countryside look bad. Whatever goodwill I had toward the film was sapped away in the final scene where Kilner inserts the far-too-ubiquitous “Here’s What the Characters Did after the Movie!” subtitles. I’m only gonna say this once, Clare: You only use those for films based on actual events, unless you’re trying to be funny and ironic. It didn’t work in Unbreakable, and it’s certainly not going to work here.