The Wedding Date

Bomb Rating: 

Call this film "Pretty Man." For those who might have forgotten how Julia Roberts became a big star, in the 1990 movie "Pretty Woman" she played a prostitute who was ultimately saved from a life of sex with smelly men and various venereal diseases by Richard Gere, who fell in love with her and thus inspired an entire generation of prospective prostitutes to get into the hooking business.

"The Wedding Date" tries to be a retelling. The key word is "tries." Almost all the same important plot points emerge. Kat Ellis (Debra Messing) needs a date to attend her sister's wedding so that she can torture her ex-fiancé (Jeremy Sheffield). She hires Nick Mercer (Dermot Mulroney), one of New York's most successful male escorts. Now hold on to your hat, because I'm about to reveal the movie's shocking, bold, totally unexpected surprise twist: Kat and Nick fall in love.

If there are feminists anywhere trying to measure the advance of women's rights through cinema, they might be compelled to slit their wrists after "The Wedding Date." Even though Nick is a certified manwhore, he's still the one to save Kat. Apparently, Kat is so desperate that she chooses to be with a guy who probably harbors more nasty foreign bacteria than used Hilton family Q-tip.

This movie turns up the cute factor to nearly intolerable levels. It is, in fact, a quintessential romantic comedy, exactly the kind of movie tailored to people who have no intention of letting their brains work during a film. Meanwhile, the rest of us realize somewhere in the middle of it all that we're being subjected to every film cliché known to humankind. Example: The wacky best friend, TJ (Sarah Parish), who has all the good lines and would inevitably steal the entire film if she were given more than two minutes of screen time.

Director Clare Kilner also treats the audience to my least favorite bad director habit: music that describes exactly what's happening in a scene. Kat and Nick travel to London for the wedding and when they have their inevitable fight, weepy music reminds us that they "want to go home" because we're just too stupid to know that on our own. This is one of about 40 songs of this type.

I sure felt like making a date after this dreck -- with an overdose of Vicodin.

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