The Wedding Date Movie Review
Most A-list actors and actresses know better than to dip their hand into the forbidden bin. When the barriers break down and a proven talent skims the bin's surface, we endure Cameron Diaz in The Sweetest Thing, Bruce Willis in Mercury Rising, or Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in The Mexican.
Television actors, however, are more than happy to plunder this legendary bin of "Not Quite There" scripts in a rabid attempt to parlay these fragmentary features into a serviceable bridge from idiot box to silver screen. Ray Romano's recent Welcome to Mooseport jumps to mind, but it is one example out of hundreds. Remember Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills? How about David Caruso's repeated attempts to follow up NYPD Blue with a breakout feature-length hit? Does anyone remember Jenna Elfman at all?
Let's be fair. On the degree of difficulty scale, an actor's transition from television to motion picture falls somewhere between eating a stick of butter and bench-pressing a Volkswagen Beetle. Possible, but improbable. Continuing with this visual, Will & Grace star Debra Messing currently has half a stick of Land O'Lakes stuck in her throat and a bright red convertible Bug lying across her chest.
If it seems like I'm delaying my review of Messing's attempted comedy The Wedding Date... well, I am. What is there to say? So unoriginal it's insulting, this limp excuse for cinema assumes its audience has the mental capacity of a toddler, so it straps us in a restricting high chair and spoon feeds us tepid predictability. Messing "stretches" her acting "muscles" to play an insecure, neurotic New Yorker named Kat (Grace was too obvious) who hires an escort (half-asleep Dermot Mulroney) so she doesn't have to attend her stepsister's wedding alone.
The shenanigans that first-time screenwriter Dana Cox concocts from this lame scenario fluctuate from stupid to lazy and back to dull. Midseason replacement sitcoms on the Fox network have sharper ideas and funnier laugh lines. Clare Kilner's hackneyed direction doesn't help. The filmmaker showed zero promise in her last project - the atrocious Mandy Moore weeper How to Deal - and actually regresses on this blind Date. Scenes begin and end with no continuity, snapping together like puzzle pieces from two separate boxes. My favorite mistake occurs late in the film. We hear a clap of thunder in the background as Messing's character exits a reception, and in the next shot, she and Mulroney are soaking wet - even though Kilner never once shows us a scene where rain fell from the sky. Priceless. Perhaps it's symbolism, because this dud is all wet.
Would have been better with pop-up gags.