The Wedding Date
Universal // PG-13 // $29.98 // August 16, 2005
Review by Svet Atanasov | posted August 11, 2005
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The Film:
Here's a question I have for all of you happily married couples: what is the best thing about going to your friend's-brother's-sister's-whatever-third-cousin-you-might-think-of-wedding is? Yes, celebrating that special occasion, free drinks and great food, meeting all those relatives and friends at once, right! Now let your wife get a glass of champagne over at the bar and tell me what you really think…That's right!!! The best thing about going to a wedding is that you could meet as many of them single women as you want!

For busy and single New Yorker Kat Ellis (Debra Messing), however, going to her sister's wedding in London is anything but an event she is looking forward to. She is dateless, she is tired of her family's pretentious mannerisms, and she is in desperate need of a man. Fortunately enough for Kat the greatest gift democracy was able to secure for this country, the Yellow Pages, is only a stretch away. So is her dream man, a dark-tall-and-handsome male escort (Dermot Mulroney) willing to accompany her half way around the world in exchange for 6.000$. And just so we are clear on this one…sex is not included!! What a bargain!!!

Upon arrival in London for Nick Mercer, Kat's "boyfriend", things turn rather complicated as he is soon cordoned by a number of women more willing to explore than the astronauts we sent to the moon. It seems like everyone is enchanted by Nick including his new employer. So, when after a wild night in the city Kat and Nick finally manage to reveal their "feelings" we can sense that true love is just around the corner. The problem is it must have been a far street corner in New York City because in the land of Churchill this love story reeks of spoiled fish and chips.

Despite the lavish shots of the ever so beautiful British countryside and the open sexual initiations which women from the other side of the Atlantic happily exchange The Wedding Date is quite a disappointment. The film relies on so many clichés that it becomes unbearably predictable even for those willing to tolerate the worn-out jokes meant to spice up the story. In addition, after the initial introduction of the main protagonists it seems like the director ran out of ideas how to keep both of them interested. It takes unnecessarily long time, especially for a film that is built around a supposedly romantic encounter, for Kat and Nick to see that faith has a plan for them.

If anything partially redeems this little film it is the natural charm of Debra Messing and her ability to recreate the image of a woman too busy and too insincere to admit that her life is headed in a direction where happiness is nowhere to be found. I am convinced that the few potential viewers which this film will attract will be able to identify with this specific aspect of The Wedding Date.

I am not familiar with the male escort business but judging by the fees and substantial education involved with it training is indeed required. At least that is what we are asked to believe looking at Nick Mercer. And judging by his self-assured looks (and brains) The Wedding Date might send an interesting message to single women willing to "restructure" their 401K in order to find that special one.

How Does the DVD Look? Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and enhanced for widescreen TV's The Wedding Date does not exactly look spectacular. I see a number of digital artifacts and an overly distracting amount of edge enhancement. The image also suffers from some contrast boosting which is especially noticeable during outdoor shots (look particularly at the scene where Kat and Nick play softball against her ex-boyfriend). Viewed on a regular tube, however, surprisingly many of the above mentioned issues are substantially reduced, with other words they will not detract from your viewing experience.

How Does the DVD Sound? This DVD offers English 5.1 and Spanish 5.1 audio tracks with optional English and Spanish subtitles, and the addition of captions for the hearing impaired. The audio presentation is generally well-handled and I don't see any major deficiencies that are worthy of a detailed discussion. An overall solid work.

Extras: There is a rather hilarious audio commentary with Debra Messing which offers some interesting details regarding the filming process. From what I was able to gather The Wedding Date must have been an excellent experience and Debra Messing was surely impressed with Dermot Mulroney. In addition there is a small gallery of deleted scenes, a revealing interview with Debra Messing titled "A Date with Debra", and a few previews for other upcoming releases which appear immediately after you insert the DVD in your player (the previews are not "forced").

Final Thoughts: Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney are facing an almost impossible task with The Wedding Date due to the fact that…well, films about weddings and romantic encounters have been simply more than successfully (and unsuccessfully) explored in the past. Though Debra Messing's charm as an actress is undisputable there is nothing in this film that you have not seen before. If anything, The Wedding Date could be a good date film that hopefully will manage to entertain both you and your date. RENT IT.

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