Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

The genre is called "romantic comedy;" this film succeeded fairly well at the romance but didn't seem to know how to pull off the comedy. Debra Messing has some of the sharpest comic timing on television right now, so it's a rare sight to watch her bungle punchlines and strain unconvincingly with pratfalls. I hate to say it, but after seeing this film, I can't help but question her talent. As Grace Adler, she works in a deep groove of irony, so her acting can only be truly appreciated on a technical level. But in "The Wedding Date," she is tasked with creating a three-dimensional woman for whom the audience is supposed to develop strong sympathy, and she's out of her league. The further we get from Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan's glory days, the easier it becomes to appreciate how thoroughly they mastered the genre.

A film that seems to go about everything the wrong way deserves some left-handed compliments. It overcomes a totally unbelieveable setup with the sheer charisma of its two leads; Dermot Mulroney plays a gigolo who doesn't need the money and just happens to have an Ivy League education, and somehow makes him seem like one of the most down-to-earth, not to mention watchable, characters in the movie. Photographer Oliver Curtis is determined to bring soft-focus back into vogue (or fail trying), and Holland Taylor is one of very few actresses who can pull off the lines she says here, which are the kinds of things that no mother would ever announce about one of her daughters. If you're looking for a date movie, you're probably better off with "Hitch" or even "Sideways," but if you wind up in the theater for this movie, that wouldn't be so bad.

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