Cancel this ‘Wedding Date’ here, now, forever and always
There’s a tug-of-war the new film “Wedding Date” provokes among its audience, one that, as it turns out, is certainly more interesting than the movie itself.
That is whether the film is more immoral or improbable. Director Clare Kilner and screenwriter Dana Fox clearly have “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “My Best Friends Wedding” and “Pretty Women” for inspiration. (Not enough.)
For the first 30 minutes the likability and comic timing of its two stars, Debra Messing (From TV’s “Will and Grace”) and Dermot Mulroney (whose been hiding out in little-known movies), pledges an engaging romp, but as soon as the film’s big conflict surfaces it falls apart faster than a Hollywood marriage without a pre-nup.
So let’s start with the more immoral or more improbable challenge. Messing’s character Kat is a neurotic almost bride-to-be from Manhattan who decides to hire male escort Nick, sight unseen, from an ad for a whopping $6,000 rather than go alone to her sister’s wedding in London. OK, she’s trying to show off to her “ex” who will be there. Understandable, given her characters’ insecurity. But six big ones? Without as much as a photo or a credible reference? And it DOESN’T include sex, that’s extra?
Nick turns out to be a sensitive escort, for that much dough he’d better be a good listener too — and low key Mulroney (more evidence that women love good looking 40-year-olds) plays the part just right, but it should be noted that if men had made this film we would not have been subjected to a shot of his naked left buttock for what seems an eternity.
When they end up staying in the same room at her parent’s house in the English countryside, Kat builds a barricade between the two of them using at least a dozen pillows. That’s a sure sign they will be having sex soon. (Score one for more immoral than improbable.)
As libertine as the premise of “Pretty Women” was, that film took the time to explore each character’s disposition and feelings toward each other. “Wedding Date” takes a shortcut and we really don’t learn anything about Nick except that he doesn’t like anchovies.
The big secret that is disclosed causes no real pain simply because none of the characters has earned our empathy. The actors are talented people trapped in a film of cliches (pointless bachelor/bachelorette fall down drunk parties) and suspensions of reality. And doesn’t a romantic comedy by definition have to have SOME romance?
The casual movie fan can be easily convinced. Discriminating viewers demand that the actors themselves are convinced. There’s the rub.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue.