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Review: Decent, bland 'Wedding Date'

Nothing you haven't seen before, but cast does fine

By Paul Clinton

Wedding Date
Dermot Mulroney and Debra Messing in "The Wedding Date."
Debra Messing
Dermot Mulroney

(CNN) -- "The Wedding Date" is a sweet, mindless diversion that is reminiscent of dozens of other romantic comedies. You know the ones: someone walks down the aisle with all the predictable confusion, angst and wackiness the writers can wring out of that rite of passage.

However, this particular wedding-cake walk does feature the excellent comedic timing of Debra Messing and the charm and sex appeal of Dermot Mulroney, which will likely combine to make this film a hit with the date crowd.

Messing plays Kat Ellis, a New York City career woman who is preparing to attend the wedding of her half-sister in England. There's just one little problem -- she doesn't have a date for the wedding, and the best man at the upcoming event is the same guy who recently dumped her after seven years together.

Her solution is to hire a professional male escort -- sight unseen -- to go with her to London and pose as her boyfriend.

In real life this strategy would have resulted in a nightmare of a guy, one more hulk than hunk. But this being a Hollywood movie he turns out to be a perfect gentleman named Nick Mercer, played by Mulroney.

That's all you really need to know. The plot is paper-thin and will shred under closer examination. It's obvious first-time screenwriter Dana Fox has watched "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" way too many times.

British actor Peter Egan joins the always reliable Holland Taylor in playing Kat's parents, Bunny and Victor Ellis. Taylor, now a star of "Two and a Half Men," has played this slightly daffy, off-center mother role numerous times and has it down pat.

The nasty ex-boyfriend is portrayed by Jeremy Sheffield, a suitably good-looking cad. Amy Adams ("Catch Me If You Can") plays Kat's selfish half-sister, and another British actor, Jack Davenport, is great as the slightly clueless groom. And "Wedding Date" director Clare Kilner makes the most of the beautiful locations in the Surrey countryside of England.

It's a nice turnaround to have the man in a film being the sex object instead of the woman. Mulroney plays a great hooker with a heart of gold and even makes more money than Julia Roberts made performing the same type of role in "Pretty Woman." She only got $3,000 for her services; Mulroney's Nick makes twice that amount. (Of course, it HAS been 15 years.)

Messing doesn't stray too far from her role as Grace Adler in her hit TV sitcom "Will & Grace" so she's on firm ground here. Of course, the results are far from groundbreaking.

But this little romantic piece of fluff serves its purpose of being a total "chick flick," thereby filling a niche that always comes in handy around Valentine's Day.

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