If you are looking for a high-brow art-house film then this is not the film for you. If however you are looking for a less funny Four Weddings and a Funeral, a less endearing Notting Hill or a less moving Love Actually without the intelligence of a Richard Curtis script then this is the picture for you. It is not celluloid rocket science, but a midly entertaining, occasionally funny and often very silly film.
The Wedding Date is a vehicle for Debra Messing, better known as Grace, the more boring straight half in the US television show Will and Grace. Messing does not however simply play the same chick lit stereotype, although there are some similarities with the neurotic Grace, instead she portrays Kat, a woman who feels her life is in freefall. You do find yourself willing for things to work out for her even when the film itself disappoints.
So the story so far: Kat hires a male escort to accompany her to London to her sister’s wedding, where her ex-boyfriend (who dumped her, obviously) is the best man. Dermot Mulroney plays the escort Nick, and although he looks very handsome he is given very little to do and some atrocious lines.
The majority of the rest of the cast are made up of English character actors, who fulfil all the obligatory cliches, which usually accompany this type of film. There is the overbearing, dominant mother with a heart of gold, the quiet but loving father, the strange sister and of course the loud, over-sexed best friend, played wonderfully by Sarah Parish. However, it is Jack Davenport as the slightly stupid English groom who steals the show and truly makes you believe in him as a real character.
It is the London Tourist Board version of the city and there is no attempt to locate the film in a real place or time; instead every location is a stereotype that certainly does not exist. London is a city that seems to have very few people in it and those that do populate it appear to be idiots, so no change there then. The countryside is chocolate box pretty to the point that you expect the hunting reds and the inbred yokels to turn up on screen. The locations simply serve the narrative and never convince the viewer that they are watching real people in a real place.
The problem with the film is that it is never really sure what it wants to be. The initial section is played as a comedy and farce but the film is never funny enough. Later when it becomes surprisingly dark and dramatic the audience has not invested enough in the characters to really buy into them.
A romantic film often walks a fine line between being truly emotional or cringe making. Unfortunately this film is too often in the later category. This is not helped but some awful dialogue that even the best actors would struggle to make convincing. As dates go, The Wedding Date is one that you wish you had stood up.