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"The Wedding Date"

Directed by Clare Kilner.
Written by Dana Fox.
Starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  2/9/05


Usually, I run home after seeing films and write up the review so that I don't forget any of the details behind why I liked or disliked a movie.  Sometimes, I wait a couple of days, to soak it all in before making a judgment on what I really thought.

But, in the case of the classic Matinee-style film, if I don't come home and write about it within about 24 hours, you can pretty much guarantee that I will have forgotten everything about it.  That's because the movie is so average that its details blend in with all other movies of its type; in the case of romantic comedies, it's hard enough to regularly get me into the theater, let alone remembering the characters' names, the little subplots and side romances, the reasons behind the inevitable blow-ups that suspend the romantic angle for a little while before the two leads get back together again.

It's been almost 24 hours...and, "The Wedding Date" is starting to fade from my mind.  Quickly, it's about a just-dumped New Yorker named Kat (Debra Messing, on loan from "Will and Grace") that needs a date for her sister's upcoming nuptials in England to make it seem like her life is all good, so instead of getting a friend date (my normal MO), she decides to blow $6,000 on a male escort named Nick (Dermot Mulroney).  The catch is that Kat's sister's fiancé's best man is Kat's former fiancé, Kat naturally MUST show him up by appearing to be all happy-like.  Although Nick is a professional hooker, he's the "hooker with a heart of gold", romance ensues, denouement.

Let me put this right out there, two things that made me very happy during "The Wedding Date":

  1. Messing is very easy on the eyes.  I could see her having a Sandra Bullock-like career, except I might actually like Messing, because she doesn't annoy the shit out of me.

  2. It is truly stunning watching Dermot Mulroney, aka "The Cadaver", act his way through a romantic comedy.

Really, watching Mulroney do anything in "The Wedding Date" made me laugh; he seems to always be the good-looking guy with nothing to say, but he is so emotionless that he almost puts this film to sleep by himself.  Now, this can work to hilarious effect if he is a sidenote character; his bit in "Living in Oblivion" was classic, even his recent work in "About Schmidt" was good.  But here, he is a model-perfect snore, a timeless-classic jawline that also requires you to physically lean closer to the speaker system to hear him talk.  The chemistry between Kat and Nick makes sense in real life, an opposites-attract union between Kat's endless nervous energy and Nick's Zen-like mannerisms.  But in the movie, they go from two people running through the motions to lovers almost in one scene, and I didn't really buy it.

That doesn't mean it isn't fun at times, and "The Wedding Date" did make me chuckle a few times, even though the jokes were spoon-fed to me.  To the filmmakers' credit, the requisite dance scene is a good one, as Kat and Nick prepare for dancing together on the wedding day; the supporting cast is mostly Kat's sister Amy (Amy Adams), her British fiancé and a bunch of Brits who act all...well, English-like.  I don't know, I'm a sucker for bad teeth, saying the word "bollocks" and referring to somebody's else's "bum"'s cliché, I know, but I just can't help it.

"The Wedding Date" was harmless; it would be a disappointing date movie, but as a straight comedy, it's not awful.  For me, though, I keep wishing that somebody would make a romantic comedy/drama as great as "Love Actually"...but, I know that day might never come.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09