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February 10, 2005

THE WEDDING DATE

Two Prostitutes and a Wedding                     
Hollywood Stoops to Profit
By Cole Smithey

Colesmithey.comOnly ditzy American white girls will enjoy this "Four Wedding’s and A Funeral"-knockoff. It was obviously penned by that same gum-chewing, dyed-hair breed. They were certainly the only audience members laughing during the multiculti screening that I attended in Manhattan. One-note television actress Debra Messing plays Kat Ellis, an emotional wreck who takes it upon herself to spend $6000 (taken from her 401k) to pay an escort (Dermot Mulroney) to accompany her to her sister’s wedding near her parent’s home in London. She wants to make her ex-fiancé jealous. If this sounds to you like a good premise for a movie, then read no further and go witness for yourself Hollywood operating from its lowest aspirations.

Kat is a cartoon version of a privileged woman who’s read a lot of magazines but not many books. She’s the kind of chic who starts taking Zoloft because all of her friends are doing it. To her, sex is something that’s done as a last resort and even then preferably in a drunken state. "Terminal sorority girl" is one way of describing the arrested developmental state that Kat occupies.

Colesmithey.com

For his part, Nick Mercer (Mulroney) isn’t that far removed from the American gigolo that Richard Gere played in the late ‘70s. He might not speak any foreign languages, but Nick understands that less is more in social conversation. In any intimate context he’s careful to retain an intellectual upper hand by delivering condescending third-rate psychological analysis that guides his prey in whatever direction he chooses. When Nick first imposes his chiseled naked body on Kat, he tells her lies about how he came to be a prostitute before retracting his dysfunctional family story by saying the he was just "screwing" with her. Certainly Kat is a horny woman who hasn’t yet come to terms with the physical work she will have to perform in order for sex to become part of her life. She isn’t prepared for the mental heavy lifting either.

"The Wedding Date" is a lazy movie that’s filled with indolent characters. Kat can’t even be bothered to go on a few dates in order to find a guy she might want to take to her sister’s wedding. It’s easier to hire a gigolo who she can enlist in a relationship because he’ll fit her idea of physical charm and share her proclivity for short cuts in life. There’s really nothing at stake for either Kat or Nick, save for the sexually transmitted disease she might catch. The subject is never broached.

As we’re in giggling-white-girl-romantic-comedy-land there are plenty of scenes of the bridesmaids whooping it up, and of limousine rides through London with Kat and her sister drunkenly tilting their heads back as they extend out of the limo’s sunroof. There’s hardly an antagonist in sight until it’s revealed that Kat’s soon-to-be-married sister Amy (Amy Adams) was cheating on her betrothed husband with Kat’s ex-fiancé. This fluffy late-reveal subplot replaces the sticky public disclosure of Kat’s hunky new boyfriend (yes their romance blooms) as a male prostitute.

Colesmithey.com

Director Clare Kilner ("How To Deal"), and first-time screenwriter Dana Fox, ended up with the logline "Love doesn’t come cheap" to describe their movie. But "The Wedding Date" is a movie that lamely attempts to disprove the assertion by showing that any American bimbo can buy a prostitute and live happily ever after. To that end, I think a more appropriate tagline would be "Goodbye and good riddance."

Rated PG-13. 90 mins. (F)  (Zero Stars)

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