Starring: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney
Directed by: Clare Kilner
Rated: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue.
Parental Notes: This is a fairly innocuous film for most teens and preteens, and if they like romantic comedies they will probably enjoy it. There is quite a bit of sexual innuendo, one fairly soft sex scene, and a little nudity, but little else to object to.
“The Wedding Date” is a fresh riff on the classic “hooker with a heart of gold” story. What’s new is that this time the wealthy person is Kat (Debra Messing), a well-off New Yorker, and the hooker is fashionable — and expensive — male escort Nick (Dermot Mulroney). Kat hires Nick to pose as her new boyfriend and go with her to her sister’s wedding in England. This is a charming take on the formula, helped along by a sparkling script and delightful performances. It’s a ludicrous story, but then, most romantic comedies are.
The chemistry between Mulroney and Messing is immediate, with him perfectly poised and unruffled and her scattered and nervous. Messing is effervescent as a high-powered business woman plagued by insecurity, and it’s hard not to be charmed by her attempts to hide how flustered she is. Meanwhile, Mulroney smiles and smolders, playing up his tall-dark-and-handsome looks and pouring on just the right amount of charisma.
Nick puts the thoroughly jittery Kat at ease, using his years of experience with women and an almost preternatural ability to make himself agreeable. His looks and keen insight into human behavior soon make him a hit with Kat’s crazy intercontinental family and it’s no surprise that once Kat calms down, things start to sizzle between her and Nick.
How legitimate that sizzle is may be in question, however, since the reason Kat wanted a boyfriend along for the weekend is that the best man at the wedding is Jeff, who called off their engagement abruptly two years ago. She starts out doing her best to use Nick to make her old flame jealous, and Nick plays along. When employer and employee start to actually fall in love, they have to figure out how much of their relationship is an act and how much is real.
The dialog and pace of the film are quick and light, with sharp, witty exchanges peppering the conversations. Kat’s rowdy British cousin TJ (Sarah Parish) and dotty extended family make for good comedy fodder. It’s easy to sympathize with Kat, who has to deal with a mother who constantly makes digs about her single status and a remarkably self-centered sister, not to mention the rest of the extended family, who don’t know why Jeff dumped her, and aren’t sure whose side to be on.
Kat’s road to happiness isn’t a smooth one, riddled as it is with familial conflicts, confusion over whether Nick’s feelings for her are real or not, and the secret of why her ex-fianc