Directed by: Clare Kilner
Starring: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Jeremy Sheffield, Amy Adams
If you saw the previews, you've already seen every cute moment in Wedding Date, a lackluster attempt to gender twist the fairy tale, Pretty Woman. This clunker is about as charming as a bride and groom smashing one another in the kisser with wedding cake -- it's not romantic, and the act is so blatantly unloving you know the clueless couple is headed for divorce court before they drive off with the tin cans trailing.
Debra Messing (TV's Will and Grace) plays Kat, a single gal from London who's living in New York. As if that's not stressful enough, she must cross the Atlantic for her half-sister's wedding and deal not only with her goofy family, but also the ex-fiance who dumped her. The unforgiven ex is Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield), who also happens to be the best man, so there's no way Kat will be able to avoid him.
Any normal, independent and unattached woman faced with such an uncomfortable scenario would double up on therapy sessions, lose 10 pounds, get a fabulous new hairstyle, rehearse snappy one-liners and go to the wedding by herself with the attitude that every bloke in England would fall all over himself to be on a date with her. Not Kat. She takes $6,000 out of her 401(k) account and hires an escort, sight unseen, to pretend to be her lovey-dovey new boyfriend. Nick Mercer (Dermot Mulroney, My Best Friend's Wedding) turns out to be a cool, attractive guy with a degree in comparative literature from Brown. The tiny scar over his lip is mercilessly sexy.
Being a male prostitute, Nick knows how to spoon-deliver subtle seductions, so Kat is a goner from "hello." And since he's a hooker with a heart of gold, Nick finds himself becoming surprisingly attracted to Kat. I say surprisingly because she's a klutzy, self-absorbed, silly twit with really bad hair. Nevertheless, Kat and Nick do a twirly-swirly duet while rehearsing the wedding dance, and since in that scene she's wearing the only decent outfit in the entire movie, they fall in love. "I'd rather fight with you," Nick tells her, "than make love to anyone else." (Yeah, how many black eye-dealing cuties have said that?)
When he isn't driving Kat (and the women in the audience) nuts by deliberately not kissing her, Nick spouts Buddha-lover sound bites. "Every woman has the exact love life she wants," he taunts Kat. Ain't that a doozy? When you're a scriptwriter who's so shallow that you can't create characters an audience might care about, just throw in a few New-Agey, you-make-your-own-reality lines and you're guaranteed to get at least some viewers to think they're seeing something clever. Oh, spare me.
"I think I missed you before we ever met," Nick admits. Not a terribly bad line, but since Kat is so caught up in being a spinster, she can't even react to Nick's testament of his love. She doesn't kiss him or say something like, "Oh, dude, honey, I loved you even before I handed you all those rolled-up hundred-dollar bills." Instead, she just blithely ignores Nick's big moment and returns to playing coy.
While Nick is trying to be a chivalrous guy and bed Kat when she's not too drunk to remember his efforts, she's off trying to deal with her jealous sister, Amy (Amy Adams, Catch Me If You Can), who has a bad habit of bedding men who belong to Kat, and is now creating chaos by trying to clear her conscience before the big day. Will Amy's husband-to-be forgive her? Will big sister Kat find eternal happiness with the man she paid for out of her retirement funds? Will anyone care?
A modern wedding movie like this makes you long for a good old-fashioned funeral. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue.
-- reviewed by Marci Miller