It's not just the church bells that clang in romantic comedy The Wedding Date. A hollow plot and Clare Kilner's blundering direction will leave your ears ringing. Star Debra Messing lights up the screen in TV's Will & Grace, but as a lonely gal who hires an 'escort' to attend her sister's nuptials, Kilner fails to exploit her comedic gifts. That tops the list of missed opportunities, which render the film as forgettable as a Hollywood couple's marriage vows.
It's a disorientating experience from the opening minute when Kat (Debra Messing) despatches an airline ticket to the hired help Nick (Dermot Mulroney). In the next breath they're on a plane to London where Kat uses him to inspire jealousy in her philandering ex and best man Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield). Inevitably though, Kat falls for Nick and that's when things get really complicated.
"AN ALMOST FUNEREAL PACE"
In a string of clichéd misadventures, no thought is given to fleshing out the characters. Kat is desperate and Nick has nice hair - other than that, there's no reason why these two should get together. Kilner also skips over fertile dramatic ground concerning Nick's dubious profession. She calls him "morally repugnant", but within a day Kat mysteriously forgets her reservations. Likewise Nick crosses the line from cool gigolo to misty-eyed loverboy in a heartbeat. Kilner's editing slows things down, but to an almost funereal pace.
Ultimately the only person to emerge unscathed is Cutting It's Sarah Parish, prompting a few laughs as Kat's vulgar English cousin. Nonetheless, The Wedding Date is an event to be missed.