After proving her comic chops in sitcom Will & Grace, Debra Messing squandered her talent in The Wedding Date. Critics slated this romantic comedy by British director Claire Kilner, which turned out to be "as forgettable as a Hollywood couple's marriage vows". To ensure respectable business, canny studio suits released it over Super Bowl weekend in the US, although it was still beaten to the No 1 spot by schlock horror Boogeyman.
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Given that the first 10-15 minutes of the film are so jarring, the hope is that eight deleted scenes might shed light on the sequence of events that lead Kat (Debra Messing) to hire Nick the gigolo (Dermot Mulroney) as a date to her sister's wedding. Sadly there is no enlightenment here. Instead we have an awkward and unfunny exchange between Kat and a man-eating wench on the flight to London and only a hint of the discomfort she feels about Nick's profession in a minute-long cutaway. Basically this footage underlines the flaws in the script.
In lieu of a behind-the-scenes featurette, Messing reflects on the experience of making the film in A Date With Debra. She begins with a sidebar on the time she attended a wedding in a torrential downpour and contracted bronchitis, but there is no punchline - or indeed any other conceivable point to this story. The fact that she's allergic to flowers and spends most of the film surrounded by them is a little more amusing, but the better part of seven minutes is spent gushing about Dermot Mulroney. Specifically, she boasts about having copped an eyeful of his, um, wedding tackle in one of their more intimate scenes. Classy.
Messing is a little more focused in her audio commentary but Kilner declines to join her. (In fact, Kilner contributes nothing to this package of extras.) Inevitably there are long spells of silence when Messing is unable to shed light on the whys and wherefores of the production, although her admission that, "We always had only five minutes to shoot our scenes," suggests something of the manner in which the film was made. Furthermore, Messing concedes that test audiences found the opening scenes very difficult to follow and explains that the original intro was cut due to a technical snafu. "They put in some smoke for atmosphere but they got a little overexcited with it," she says. "It looked as if the whole living room was burning down."
Messing's commentary goes to show that where there's smoke, there isn't necessarily any fire. When it comes to picking out a film for a girl's night in, it's worth taking heed of the critics: the Wedding Date is a dud on DVD.