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THE WEDDING DATE (article first published : 2005-06-15)

There will, no doubt, be many who will coo and chuckle and blub on cue during this new romantic comedy, The Wedding Date, but anyone seeking an ounce of originality will be left severely wanting.

Director Clare Kilner's glossy confection, based on a book by Elizabeth Young, dredges up every cliché in the book.

And not only is it painfully predictable but tacky with some of the worst, syrupy, greeting card dialogue - lines such as "Even if I hadn't had met you, I'd miss you" and "Fighting with you is better than loving with someone else". Pass the sick bag, please.

Working in the film's favour are two charming leads in Will & Grace star Debra Messing and long-time-no-see Dermot Mulroney, who is perhaps best remembered for playing opposite Julia Roberts in another matrimony movie, the hit My Best Friend's Wedding.

Messing, less over-the-top than she is in Will & Grace - and better for it - portrays Kat, a New Yorker happy to fork out 6,000 bucks to hire a handsome escort, Nick (Mulroney), to jet off with her to attend a wedding in London.

Nick is to pose as Kat's boyfriend at the lavish wedding of her younger stepsister. And the reason he has been hired is that Kat wants to prove to everyone that she has got over being dumped by Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield), a Brit who happens to be the best man of the groom.

As the usual parade of stereotypes are trotted out (overbearing mum, effete wedding planner, sweet stepdad, spoilt sister, ultra-colourful friend) so Kit and Nick, constantly keeping up the pretence of being head over heels in love, start to find - surprise, surprise - that they actually click very nicely together.

And, yes, love is suddenly in the air - but a happy ending can't be guaranteed while there seems to be unfinished business between Kat and her former fiancè.

Also featuring Jack Davenport, Sarah Parish and Amy Adams, The Wedding Date joins all the right dots to make a pretty picture, but it offers nothing that we haven't seen in many varying permutations before. It runs a short 89 minutes. Rating 5/10 - Billy Suter




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