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Overall Rating
2.41

Awesome: 11.48%
Worth A Look: 4.92%
Average: 11.48%
Pretty Bad57.38%
Total Crap: 14.75%

5 reviews, 31 user ratings


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Wedding Date, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Debra Messing is no Julia Roberts-she's barely even Monica Potter"
2 stars

If you ever speculated about what a Julia Roberts romantic comedy would be like without the presence of Julia Roberts, your questions should be answered by “The Wedding Date”. At times, it feels as if every key ingredient from those films was chucked into a blender and set on frappe. Unfortunately, this is a cinematic smoothie that won’t go down too smoothly and even the most forgiving fans of the genre will find it difficult to choke down this cynically conceived and sloppily produced effort to cash in on that market. The equation may have been to add “Pretty Woman” (minus the strong moral center) to “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (minus the wacky gay pal) in order to create the ultimate romantic comedy. The result, alas, is closer to a flatliner than anything else.

Debra Messing stars as Kat, a single gal in the big city who is spoiled, neurotic, vain, self-centered and self-pitying beyond comprehension; because this is, after all, a “chick flick,” as the kids call them, we are supposed to look at these attributes as being somehow charming instead of being exactly what they seem like–a disturbing cry for help. As the film opens, she has to go to London for the wedding of her half-sister (Amy Adams). This is bad enough, but it transpires that her ex-boyfriend (Jeremy Sheffield), the bounder who broke her heart, is going to be there serving as the best man. She decides that she wants to show him what a mistake he made by leaving her but she is apparently unable to find any male in the tri-state area willing to spend 10 solid minutes with her without screaming. So she does what any classy gal in her position would do–she tracks down and hires a high-priced man-whore, Nick (Dermot Mulroney), to pose as her boyfriend and impress everyone, because, after all, the day really is all about her. Of course, this is no ordinary man-whore. Nick talks like Dr. Phil, looks like the old boyfriend from “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and is in it less for the sex than for the good feeling he gets by making his clients feel better about themselves. Combine Deuce Bigalow and the Horse Whisperer and you have Nick.

From here, you can pretty much figure out the drill. At first, they only pretend to like each other but they soon begin to develop genuine feelings for each other. Then there is a silly misunderstanding that causes them to hate each other for a while, but that is settled as quickly as it comes up. The bounder boyfriend reappears on the scene to complicate matters further. There are secrets, lies, tears, laughs and flirtations, all scored to an oppressive lite-FM soundtrack and it all leads up to the inevitable happy ending where our adorable heroine finally gets the man-whore of her dreams.

Although the screenplay couldn’t be more predictable if it tried (and if there is one thing that this film doesn’t do, it is try), the problem with “The Wedding Date” is that the two central characters–the ones that we are supposed to care about and develop a vested interest in their eventual happiness–are as annoying and unpleasant as anyone I have seen in a film in recent memory. (The characters in “Closer” were cuddly by comparison.) It says a lot about the pair when you begin to realize that the cold, pragmatic man-whore is the more likable half of the duo. Nevertheless, he comes off as a prince when compared to Kat, a woman who is so obnoxious that when we finally see the bounder who dumped her, we want to pat him on the back, buy him a beer and inquire as to how he put up with her for as long as he did without strangling her in her sleep. Matters aren’t helped by the lackluster leads; Mulroney looks vaguely embarrassed to be there while Messing flails about desperately in an attempt to position herself as the next Julia Roberts, even though she doesn’t quite have the on-screen personality to make it as a second-string Monica Potter. Between them, they display the kind of romantic chemistry that makes this film slightly less effective as a romantic comedy than, say, “Billy Jack Goes to Washington.”

Even when it tries to stay within the time-honored conventions of the genre, the film utterly falls flat. Take the aforementioned silly misunderstanding that Kat and Nick have early on. It could literally be about anything, no matter how trivial, because we in the audience know that it is a part of the package. However, the screenplay manages to botch even that by being unable to give a coherent reason as to why they are bickering in the first place. As far as I can tell, the man-whore is hurt because Kat doesn’t remember sleeping with him the night after a drunken bachlorette party and Kat is hurt that her man-whore thinks that she brought a lot of extra money home in order to pay him for sex. I realize how incoherent that sounds in print but it is twice as confusing on the screen. The sequence did, however, remind of the old joke about the prostitute and the Polish soldier, which I assure you is far funnier than anything in the film itself. (If you want proof, drop me a line and I will send you the joke so you can see for yourself.)

If “The Wedding Date” had been written and directed by men, I have no doubt that it would be jeered off screens for being sexist, retrograde junk. In fact, it was written and directed by women and it is still sexist, retrograde junk. Maybe I associate with the wrong kind of women but the one that I know are smart, funny and resourceful people who would be genuinely outraged by the suggestion that this film somehow represented the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of their gender. And yet, it will no doubt make a few bucks this weekend from a female audience as counter-programming to the Super Bowl, though I would guess that many will walk away bored and disappointed by the complete lack of wit, style or even simple good cheer. I would suggest to them that this might be the perfect time to expose themselves to the works of the Three Stooges, whose films have those qualities (and many more) in abundance.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11581&reviewer=389
originally posted: 02/04/05 15:04:57
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User Comments

4/12/09 Ali I Love this movie! I have watched it about 4 times. It's a funny and cute movie. 5 stars
12/30/08 jhwallacejr have seen this movie 3 times...very sweet and funny movie 5 stars
11/16/08 PAUL SHORTT AN EPIC COMIC MISCALCULATION 1 stars
10/29/07 mb Nice and cute romantic movie. Very enjoyable. 4 stars
8/27/07 veronica More men should look and sound like DERMOT! I can watch this film over and over 5 stars
5/19/07 David Pollastrini lots of hot women in this! 3 stars
4/18/07 David Pollastrini Some hot women in this! 3 stars
12/12/06 William Goss Staggeringly unoriginal, unfunny, and unnecessary. 1 stars
7/03/06 Sally Sanders Loved It! Dermot's character is to die for! 5 stars
4/17/06 Pat great movie.loved dermot 5 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar It's all a bit far-fetched. And not at all funny. 2 stars
3/08/06 Katie Pretty funny romantic comedy 3 stars
2/10/06 Carolyn Rathburn luscious, I loved it, the romance, surprisingly funny 5 stars
10/27/05 Polly Bloggs the worst movie i have ever seen.. seriously 1 stars
9/21/05 KRISTIN LUGO I THOUGHT THIS FILM GAVE A REAL LIFE LOOK OF WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH WITH MEN. 4 stars
9/20/05 Jonathon Holmes Zzzzzzzzz 1 stars
8/19/05 ES a reverse pretty woman, but in the end she wasn't rich and he was just unemployed 3 stars
5/21/05 Kellie It doesn't take the time to fully develop the relationships--but fun enough if it's cheap. 2 stars
4/13/05 hopefully debra will take off her pants for her next movie... OTHERWISE WE'LL JUST SEE DEBRA MESSING IN HER PANTS AGAIN! 3 stars
4/12/05 Could've been average, but..... Never a good sign when printed end messages target a character for villification! 2 stars
2/26/05 Brandy I loved it. Great romance. 5 stars
2/18/05 Missy Mc I liked it, but not for guys. Total chick flick. 4 stars
2/17/05 crandall101 nice to see once 3 stars
2/14/05 KCobain No way! 1 stars
2/10/05 Uncle Salty What do I like about romantic comedies? Killing myself. Fuck anyone remotely responsible. 1 stars
2/09/05 Kelly Greenwood I thought it stunk 2 stars
2/08/05 Steve Michaud Bland and unoriginal; a romantic comedy without many laughs or genuine romance 2 stars
2/08/05 Richard Linxwiler I liked it 3 stars
2/06/05 Gray this movie cost me a girlfriend fuck it and everyone involved in it's creation 1 stars
2/06/05 Cassandra Farrar not even close to being good 1 stars
2/05/05 Kristina Williams Messing is NO Roberts...and that aint saying much. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Feb-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-May-2005


Directed by
  Clare Kilner

Written by
  Dana Fox

Cast
  Debra Messing
  Dermot Mulroney
  Amy Adams
  Peter Egan
  Holland Taylor
  Jeremy Sheffield



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