“The Wedding Date” (Clare Kilner) is a decent film, but not a great romantic comedy. Clever lines, chic sets, appropriately incorporated cloying songs, and a sympathetic Debra Messing keep the film enjoyable. Although there are no blaringly obvious continuity errors in editing or narrative, “The Wedding Date” is not an effective romantic comedy because it fails to infuse you with a sense of “why couldn’t my life be more like that one.” Inspired by Elizabeth Young’s novel “Asking For Trouble,” Kilner’s film is about Kat Ellis (an adorable Debra Messing), an involuntarily single woman who is so determined to convince her family she is happy that she pays male escort Nick Mercer (a smolderingly hot Dermot Mulroney) $6,000 to accompany her to London to her half-sister Amy’s (Amy Adams) wedding.
A key to good story is good drama, which usually involves good conflict. A few of the characters in “The Wedding Date” certainly have issues to resolve, and several awkward moments are created by the fact that the best man at Amy’s wedding is Kat’s ex-fiance, but we perceive these elements as inconveniences rather than problems. Consequently, even when Kat finds out why Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield), her ex, broke up with her, we’re concerned but not tremendously worried that it might lessen the likelihood for a happy ending. Without the fear that Kat will not end up with anybody, “The Wedding Date” must redeem its romantic comedy qualities by making its target audience members wish they could experience what they see on the screen.
In fact, romantic comedies achieve their psychological and ideological goals when they spark our envy of the protagonist’s troubles and triumphs. Unfortunately, though, there is little about Kat’s life that causes us to desire it. “The Wedding Date” is not a total waste of money or time, because as a movie it’s sufficiently entertaining. Nevertheless, if you would rather see a romantic comedy where your head and heart are in it, perhaps renting “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (P.J. Hogan, 1997) would be more satisfying.