Wednesday, February 9, 2005

The Wedding Date

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2005 at 12:00 AM

This movie is what would happen if you sat down one night, watched Pretty Woman, Four Weddings and a Funeral and My Best Friend’s Wedding, then got really trashed on cosmopolitans, woke up the next day and wrote your own romantic comedy in a hungover daze.

Often fragmented and confused, The Wedding Date only wrings a few laughs from its hodgepodge of romantic comedy clichés. New Yorker Kat (Debra Messing) pays male escort Nick (Dermot Mulroney) $6,000 to accompany her overseas to her sister’s wedding, where an ex-fiance and overbearing mother await her. As expected, business turns into pleasure, but lies, betrayal and antics threaten the happy ending. Alternative titles could well have been Pretty Man or One Wedding You Wished Was a Funeral.

Even so, it’s hard to knock a movie in which Mulroney prances around without his knickers. And he does this a lot. Mulroney is so casually hot, flaunting his chiseled abs with nonchalance and all the while throwing the camera looks that make you want to light candles and spin some Barry White. Oh, baby.

Messing is easy on the eyes as well, dressed to the nines in a gorgeous wardrobe and some killer accessories — including a set of icy blue luggage so stunning you’d never guess luggage could make you feel that way.

Unfortunately, the film’s problems sour the eye candy fest. Messing could use a role that will elevate her to a true big-screen leading lady — but this ain’t it. She has a few funny moments, but without the chemistry and superb writing she enjoys on Will & Grace, Messing doesn’t shine like she does on TV. There are so many inconsistencies and loose ends that it’s no wonder Messing couldn’t nail her character. Also out of place is the English setting. Gorgeous shots of London and a straight-from-Merchant Ivory country house make for pretty pictures, but American writer Dana Fox tries too hard to prove her British characters to be BBC-worthy. It’s as if she set up entire scenes just so they could say “crikey,” talk about drinking “a pint of the local scrumpy,” or mention how someone “fell into some nettles.” It’s enough to make even the tamest Anglophile groan.

Plus, there’s the troubling “Hookerella” premise. One moment Kat’s maxing out her ATM withdrawal limit to pay for sex with a man; in the next, she’s fallen in love with him. Crikey!

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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