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Asking for Trouble
A novel by Elizabeth Young

. "The Wedding Date"

I've long been wondering why Debra Messing hasn't been doing feature films. She's a warm-hearted beauty with acting skill and pitch perfect comedy timing, all well showcased in her weekly TV hit, "Will and Grace." At last it's happened and, while her first big splash in the medium is a bit of silly, light- hearted comedy with a weak premise and shaky basis, it is likely to find a quickly adoring and appreciative audience.

Kat Ellis (Messing) is hardly the kind of person you'd expect would need to hire a male escort. Hey, this is a bombshell who should be beating adoring men away with a stick. Okay, so we'll accept that she hasn't been out much lately and she works in an all-female office and that she has no other choice but to hire Nick Mercer, the mercenary (Dermot Mulroney) to make like he's her latest boyfriend in order to impress her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield) with the appearance of emotional happiness when she returns to London for her younger sister Amy's (Amy Adams) wedding to his best friend.

This is important, see. She can't very well show up like a weak and widowized reject. A little jealousy, please, to raise the self-esteem level, don't you know. Well the hunky Mr. Mercenary produces the desired effect. First on her gaggle of gal pals who fall all over themselves in the presence of tight buns, then her family, and finally the object of her revenge, Jeffrey. Before this little escapade is over, the weasel is going to have his tongue hanging out imploring her to return to him and have us wondering what she saw in him in the first place.

But, it seems, the satisfaction doesn't end there. At the point of ultimate vengeance, the accomplishment feels empty. A little predictable chemistry has been going on and new desires have been activated. This formulation isn't Dr. Stephen W. Hawking ("The Future of Theoretical Physics and Cosmology") but for some of those who will come to feast at this party, it's universal enough.

If the scenario's obvious nature and simple design doesn't turn you off, then your appetite for a lighter than air entertainment will reward you with the necessary physical ingredients. Plenty of stereotypical lust talk from the ladies and, for the guys, the concentration of dressed-up, revealing female pulchritude is concentrated enough, in places, to clear out some plaque.

It's not up to "Four Weddings and a Funeral" with Hugh Grant, or "My Best Friend's Wedding" with Julia Roberts (and... Dermont Mulroney who seems to be establishing a foothold on this material) but the cake tastes pretty much the same in the end.

Director Clare Kilner and writer Dana Fox at least tried for a variation on the formulaic comedy-wedding plot, but trying ain't succeeding. If the nonsense about hiring a hunk in order to provide a cute meet isn't what brings it down, the straying into too much of the dull ex-boyfriend Jeffrey sub-plot will serve to spoil the recipe.

However, with La Debra finally in the picture, all I can say is, "give us more Messing." The lady is luscious and if this first date was a dud, I'm willing to go out with her again.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  


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