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"The Wedding Date" Movie Review

Something Old, Something New, and a Lot of Borrowed Stuff Might Make You Blue

By

Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney Photo from The Wedding Date

Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney in "The Wedding Date"

© Universal Studios
Debra Messing hopes her “Will & Grace” fans will follow her act into theaters as she takes on the lead in the romantic comedy, “The Wedding Date.”

As the main attraction in “The Wedding Date,” the movie’s success rests squarely on Messing's shoulders. Yes, Dermot Mulroney is right there with her, but Messing is definitely the star of the show. Whether you ultimately determine she’s lived up to the challenge depends on just how ready you are to accept her as the romantic interest in a movie that is cute but definitely not memorable.

The Story

Kat (Debra Messing) needs to find a boyfriend fast. Nick (Dermot Mulroney) gets paid to put out. And over in London, Kat’s spoiled, narcissistic younger half-sister Amy (Amy Adams) is about to walk down the aisle in her dream wedding. Surrounding the trio are Kat’s mean-spirited mom (Holland Taylor), her kindhearted step-dad (Peter Egan), a tormented ex-fiancée with a secret (Jeremy Sheffield), and Amy’s oblivious groom-to-be (Jack Davenport).

Comic relief is provided by Kat’s good friend, TJ (Sarah Parish), who pretty much says anything that pops into her head, the more raunchy the better. Unlike a lot of extraneous characters awkwardly inserted into movies for the purpose of providing comic relief and speeding the story up, you’ll actually look forward to Parish’s appearance on screen as she delivers the best lines – and the best performance - of the movie.

The Cast

Debra Messing is Debra Messing. Love her in “Will & Grace” and the odds are you’ll adore her in “The Wedding Date.” She’s pretty, has proven she can do comedy, and despite the increasingly unbelievable plot twists, seems comfy in the role.

I’ve always liked watching Dermot Mulroney and I’m glad he’s returned to the romantic comedy genre. He pulls off the part of a suave, intelligent, sensitive paid escort without ever making the guy come across as arrogant or cynical. Not exactly the most fleshed out of roles, Mulroney brings a little extra to the table and pads out the part so it’s not just simply a caricature of a male escort.

It All Boils Down To

"The Wedding Date" throws in a few serious moments and deals with a couple of issues not usually raised in romantic comedies. To disclose the issues would be to spoil the movie’s little twist and that I won’t do. But I will say the movie loses steam and you start reaching for the lifeboats when it goes for the more dramatic moments. I don’t usually advise anyone to play it safe, but “The Wedding Date” may have been one of the few times the 'stop before you hurt yourself' advice would have been well-suited.

“The Wedding Date’s” ending is one of the most contrived in recent memory and begs the question, why even go there? Trust me, if/when you see “The Wedding Date,” you’ll know just what I mean. But keeping in mind this is a romantic comedy released in February (not the awards season), no one is going to hold the screenwriter’s feet to the fire over the movie’s trite conclusion.

"The Wedding Date" feels like a recycled version of half a dozen other romantic comedies. But despite it all, I enjoyed “The Wedding Date.” I’ve already seen enough horrible movies in 2005 to hold me over for a few months. The onslaught of cinematic trash this January is enough to make me long for a fast forward button option in movie theaters. Amid all the junk, “The Wedding Date” was a breath of slightly stale air. Not original enough to be fresh and not dopey enough to make it horrible, “The Wedding Date” is one of those films you have to be in the ‘romantic comedy’ frame of mind to sit through and enjoy. If that describes your mindset, then go for it - and take a date.

GRADE: B-

"The Wedding Date" was directed by Clare Kilner and is rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue.

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