The Wedding Date

Like some romantic comedies, The Wedding Date is not a particularly bad movie, it is just bland. The one thing it has going for it is a nice performance by Debra Messing (Garfield, Along Came Polly). After the end of her long-running sitcom Will & Grace, it was inevitable that Messing would make the jump to the big screen. She has appeared in other films, but never as the headliner. Messing carries her role with ease. She makes the expected neuroses of her character, Kat Ellis, a little more bearable, and there's also the fact that it's nice seeing a different face every once in a while. Yet overall, this is the same formulaic movie made repeatedly. They need to do more than shift the surroundings to England. This was probably a bad move on the part of the filmmakers, since it just calls to mind Four Weddings and a Funeral a much better film.

Ellis is on her way back to London for the wedding of her sister Amy (Amy Adams, Catch Me If You Can, Serving Sara). Two years ago, she broke off a relationship with her long-term boyfriend Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield, Anna Karenina), who happens to be the best man. Like all movie family, hers is insane, and they will hammer home the fact that she ruined a good thing with Jeffrey. In order to deflect any sort of focus on her past, she hires Nick Mercer (Dermot Mulroney, Undertow, About Schmidt), a male escort, to pretend to accompany her to London and pretend to be her boyfriend. Okay, romantic comedies are never bastions of reality, but Dana Fox's adaptation seems especially far-fetched, given the inevitable romantic sparks that will ensure between Ellis and Mercer. The point of this was to make light of Ellis' unease with Mercer's occupation and the lies she needs to invent to keep her family in the dark, but it all comes off as a little too creepy.

Of course, everybody adores Mercer, who is suave and seems to know everything about relationships. Ellis' hesitations soon fall by the wayside, which means that director Clare Kilner (How to Deal, Janice Beard) needs to throw in some artificial plot element to make the two move apart, before having them come back together. No, this isn't a spoiler, it's just how these films works. The mark of a romantic comedy is if it works better than all of its clones, and plotwise, The Wedding Date doesn't. In trying to be cool, Mulroney is a tad too low key, and often comes across as bored. It's up to Messing to save the day, and much like Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30, she trucks along on what seems like sheer willpower. Her comic timing is enough to overlook the fact that she's falling in love with a man whom she finds "morally repugnant," and that it only takes a few days to change her mind. A movie like this does not have to be too logical, but this is just a bit too far-fetched to be cute.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue.

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