If you think of The Wedding Date as an early showcase for Amy Adams, then the film is worth the time and effort. Adams, in a supporting role as the lead character’s half-sister, also called Amy, steals the show in more ways than one. It’s her wedding that is at the center of all this, and the already shaky relationship between the two sisters is further threatened by a secret she’s been keeping. By the time it all comes spilling out, the actress lets loose a dramatic range that makes you realize why she’s gone on to star in movies of every genre and to earn five Oscar nominations. At first chipper, jealous, and grating, she transforms into a fragile woman, penitent but unsure how to atone for her mistakes.
Adams’s performance excepting, however, there’s little to recommend this film about a woman who hires an escort to pose as her wedding date in order to get back at her ex-fiancé. Longer than its short running time suggests, it’s terribly morose for a romance and is not at all the comedy the trailer makes it out to be. The film is instead preoccupied with a seriousness that has little meaning. Besides her stepdad (Peter Egan), Kat (Debra Messing) is not fond of her family and goes to her sister’s wedding in London out of obligation. To make matters worse, Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield), the fiancé who dumped her right before their wedding is there as the best man to Ed (Jack Davenport). She figures the best solution is to bring Nick (Dermot Mulroney), whose services cost a cool $6000.
An emotional pallor dampens the whole affair with almost none of the relationships bringing light to the proceedings. Kat is understandably determined to make Jeffrey pay, but once she’s in that position, she’s not sure what to do or how to do it. Her relationship with Nick is similarly muddled. She doesn’t have the confidence to orchestrate their fake romance to her liking and, because it is just the thing to do, finds herself falling for him. Adams’s strong performance makes me wish for an emphasis on the sisters, since that’s where the real conflict seems to be anyway.
Overall, The Wedding Date is a dull party, one that can’t even make use of its picturesque filming location. Its occasional and awkward intrusions into romantic comedy territory, like when Kat pours water down her shirt to catch Jeffrey’s eye, misfire. The cast does a poor job juggling the script as well. Messing mimics a certain gravity, but you can sense her comedic senses ready to break out. Mulroney, also unsure how to balance his character’s smugness and sensitivity, just smolders, so much so that he puts out all the fire. Then again, there wasn’t much to begin with.
Prod: Jessica Bendinger, Paul Brooks, Michelle Chydzik, Nathalie Marciano
Dir: Clare Kilner
Writer: Dana Fox
Cast: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Adams, Jeremy Sheffield, Jack Davenport, Sarah Parish, Peter Egan, Holland Taylor
Time: 85 min
Country: United States