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Wedding Date, The Movie Review

originally posted many years ago

What a bizarre romantic comedy The Wedding Date is, all at once a mawkish, unfunny, nonsensical and disturbing motion picture that doesn't so much entertain its audience as make their skin crawl. So many things are wrong with The Wedding Date, both in the screenplay and achieved through the blocky execution, that watching it becomes a game to see which actor can humiliate themselves the most, which character will become the most annoying, and how much of the schlocky, irrepressibly silly plot we can take before we walk out.

How's this for a heart-warming date movie? Kat (Debra Messing), a lonely thirty-something, has been invited to her sister's wedding, and the best man is her ex. Desperate not to show up alone, she hires a male prostitute named Nick (Dermot Mulroney) to pose as her new hubby and ward off her strange family. Now, why someone who looks like Debra Messing would ever need to hire a prostitute for anything is beyond me, but there's a more pressing question here: who on earth would spend $6,000 to hire Nick for a weekend? The guy may be sweet arm candy, but he's a total jackass, and cold enough to chill even the hottest female desires. And what kind of person hires a hooker to attend a wedding? I realize that most people typically don't ask questions like these in a movie like The Wedding Date, but trust me—in a movie this bad, they will.

I have no idea what The Wedding Date wants us to feel. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Nick? Sympathize with Kat? I certainly hope not, because both are impossible, given Dana Fox's horrid screenplay. Neither character is likable, especially Nick who, when you really look at him, is nothing but a soulless male sexpot, like a romantic novel caricature who hardly says anything because he has nothing nice or valuable to say. And he treats Kat like dirt, even though she's paid her life's savings for him. There's nothing really wrong with Mulroney's performance—it's fine for a character as shallow as this—but every time we look at the coy, stylish, sexy Nick, all we see is a whore.

We're given a few reasons to feel sorry for Kat. Her ex-boyfriend, Jeff (Jeremy Sheffield), did indeed treat her like hell, and it does seem difficult to be dateless around Kat's kind of family. Kat's mother, sister, and a lot of others, are unspeakably mean to her, so mean that the film's event seems less like a wedding and more like Kat's very own Friar's Club roast. But then, just as we feel a pang of understanding, we realize that Kat is no angel herself. After all, she hired Nick just simply so she could torture her wallowing ex—the holding hands and being seen together is more of a perk. How can we like someone like this? Debra Messing's performance is the only genuinely sweet thing about Kat, or the whole movie really, and even then we leave the theater feeling no happiness for Kat's undeserved happy ending.

If you're looking for a good romantic comedy, I strongly urge you to pass up The Wedding Date, for it is neither romantic nor very funny. Those looking for breezy fun will find only melancholy in this movie, and enough despicable characters to force even the most forgiving of viewers to slink back in their chairs in disapproval.

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