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January 2005

By Julian Roman

The Wedding Date

Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Clare Kilner
Screenwriter: Dana Fox
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Debra Messing, Amy Adams, Jack Davenport, & Sarah Parish




Bad romantic comedies are among the worst films to sit through. They're not funny, terribly acted, and have ridiculous plots that are more fantasy than science fiction. The Wedding Date is guilty of all these sins and one more that is the most unforgivable. It is a total cop out. It spends the entire first and second acts building up tension around the premise; then goes somewhere completely different in the ending. The filmmakers couldn't figure a way out of their set-up, so they abandon it and serve up a healthy portion of cheese for the audience to gag on.

Debra Messing, from TV's "Will and Grace", stars as the lonely and desperate Kat Ellis. Her sister's getting married in London, two years after Kat was left unceremoniously at the altar by her gigolo fiancÚ. Who happens to be the best man at her sister's wedding. Too embarrassed to go without a date, Kat hires a professional male escort, Nick (Dermot Mulroney), to be her companion. It's obvious that Nick and Kat fall in love. That's expected, it's the crux of the whole movie. The problem is that all the conflict and attempted comedy surrounding Nick's status as a man-whore is never resolved. The film milks the situation to death, then adopts a sappy sub-plot as the climax. It just doesn't want to burden you with any real drama.

Dermot Mulroney is a good actor that's painfully lost his way. He's been a staple on the romantic comedy scene for his entire career. It's his bread and butter. Women think he's a hunky stud and he uses that image to stay in the spotlight. That's fine, but he's got to do better material then this. To go from the excellent "About Schmidt" and stomach churning "Undertow" to utter garbage like "The Wedding Date" is a dramatic step down in quality. Dermot's got talent and he shouldn't waste it in movies like this one.

2005 has been a landfill of cinema so far. Every studio film has been awful and this one adds to the list. I know that hapless boyfriends and dates are going to be forced to sit through this film. There's nothing entertaining at all; no redeeming qualities, so suck it up and prepare to be bored.