Picks and Pans Review: The Wedding Date

updated 02/14/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Holland Taylor

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When this piffle of a movie was being pitched, someone must have optimistically promised, "Think Pretty Woman in reverse." Yeah, and Alexander was Patton in togas.

In The Wedding Date, Kat (Messing), a successful, single woman in Manhattan, hires Nick (Mulroney), a high-priced male escort, to pose as her date during her younger sister's wedding in London. Like all movie prostitutes, Nick has a big ol' heart of gold, along with an impressive brain—he was a comparative lit major at Brown University—and abs of steel. Sure enough, in between playacting at being an ardent couple to fool the wedding party, Kat and Nick show signs of being smitten for real.

This is obviously whipped-cream-light romantic fantasy, but a movie like Date has to be grounded in reality to work. The film is so skimpy on details (Why did Nick become an escort? What exactly is Kat's job?) and so choppily edited that characters and situations are never established well enough for a viewer to give much of a hoot what happens next. Messing displays a nervous charm, and Mulroney speaks in a slow, sexy drawl, but in no way is this a Date to remember. (PG-13)

ROMANTIC COMEDY

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