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The Wedding Date
2005 - PG-13 - 100 Mins.
Director: Clare Kilner
Producer: Paul Brooks
Written By: Dana Fox, Elizabeth Young (Novel)
Starring: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Holland Taylor, Peter Egan, Sarah Parish
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.theweddingdate.net/
   

Left: Messing Right: Mr. Roboto
Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney star in a made-for-TV film… what? You mean to tell me that ‘The Wedding Date’ is a feature-length theatrical release? You could have fooled me. From its cast, headlined by the starlet of NBC’s “Will and Grace” to its sitcom-like directorial style and a screenplay that even plays like a half-hour sitcom mercilessly extended to 100 minutes, Clare Kilner’s (‘How to Deal’) rom-com (for those who aren’t up to date with film writing lingo, that’s romantic comedy) is a relentlessly dull piece of cinematic junk.

Here’s the setup: Perennial single woman (Messing) gets word that her sister is getting married. In her insecurity, she hires a male escort (Mulroney) to be her date, all so she won’t appear to be too much of a loser in front of the ever-judging family. Wouldn’t you know it? She begins to fall for her hired help quicker than you can say “Hey, this is pretty much just a role reversal from Pretty Woman.”

Problem number one with ‘The Wedding Date’ revolves around a screenplay that, for all impressions, seems to have been constructed from a Screenplay 101 handbook. It trots out basically every cliché there is with an extended dance sequence that serves no purpose other than padding the running time and giving Kilner another chance to shoot close-ups of Mulroney’s butt (Boy, she sure does love that butt – there are seemingly countless shots of it and all but (pun intended) the most heart-struck females will even tire of what amounts to a gimmick. Adding on to the cliché count is the goofy English sidekick that goes way over the top, cribbed from ‘Notting Hill’ with the only essential difference being that the sidekick is now of the female persuasion. The problem is that she is just not very funny.

Don’t even get me started on the film’s “climax”, which plays like a supremely overwrought soap opera that even cast members of “The Young and the Restless” would reject.

In her first lead role on the big-screen Debra Messing plays her role very broad, resorting to a pratfall whenever the film begins to lag in a desperate attempt to wake what is no doubt by now a sleeping spectator. As her male counterpart Dermot Mulroney (‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’) proves once again why he only appears in these type of films where his physical attributes take precedence over what is very little acting ability. His performance here really just consists of a wide grin and monotone line readings that tell you just how little interest he seems to have with what is going on around him. Couple that with what can nicely be termed as zero chemistry with Messing (It’s not her fault, you try acting opposite a cinder block of emotion) and you’re left with a horrid film. Definitely avoid this ‘Date.’
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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