You know how sometimes when you watch a horror movie you shout at the characters like they’ll hear you? “Don’t go in there!” “Look behind you!” “Don’t bother with the condom, you’re about to die!”
I did that with prostitution rom-com The Wedding Date.
Debra Messing stars as Kat, your typical neurotic protagonist in this sort of movie, although she’s perhaps not as fussy as she seems because she yanks six grand from her 401k to hire a prostitute as her date for her sister’s wedding.
Her sister, you see, is younger (OH NO!) and is marrying Kat’s ex-fiance’s best friend (EEP!). She clearly needs to bring along a stud and show everyone, but most importantly her ex, how great she’s doing.
So she hires Nick, a Brown-educated hooker, or “escort” if you think contracting to function as arm candy and charging extra for sex entitles one to a more genteel label than other sex workers. Ooch. Did that come across as too judgmental and sex-negative and do I need to send my credentials back to Feminism HQ? I’m sorry! This is very dangerous ground for me, as someone who would like to keep her feminist credentials, and doesn’t want to disrespect any sex workers in the real world, but at the same time found the “business arrangement” in this PG-13 wedding movie to be… let’s say “oogie.” (Hey, the film uses the expression “morally repugnant.” Don’t fight me! Fight the man!)
What’s oogie about it? I don’t begrudge Kat her desire to craft a lie to take away the pain of being in a wedding party with an ex-fiance, particularly when her mother spends most of her toast at the welcome cocktail party mocking her for her failed love life. But I did start yelling “Don’t go in there!” when her prostitute starts to lay all of his seductive powers on her in some sort of attempt to guru her out of her neuroses. And I cried “look behind you!” when Kat drunkenly stops at an ATM and withdraws the maximum number of pounds from four different accounts so that she may take advantage of the upsell that Nick’s been dangling in front of her.
This switched to a different sort of yelling at the TV, of the “Are you KIDDING me?” variety, when Nick insists that he wasn’t on the clock during their horizontal romp, and HOW DARE SHE think he was? Also, she didn’t withdraw enough cash, especially because she [insert euphemism for oral sex]!
UGH. This is the thing that drives me batty about prostitution in the movies. So often, “I’m a prostitute, but that doesn’t give you any excuse to deny me human dignity” [Good!] is accidentally translated into, “I’m a prostitute, but that doesn’t give you any excuse to expect I take money for sex with my clients!” [Wait, what?] Like, if Nick has itemized that a blow job (received) costs £300, and is going to snip about that with the woman who paid him $6,000 plus travel expenses to pretend to be dating her, he should probably not be outraged that she stopped at an ATM before sleeping with him, right?
Nick gets over it, almost immediately, because he’s in love with Kat, for some reason. There’s still half a movie left, so the characters have to stumble into new conflicts so Kat has reason to judge his profession anew. She says something like, “You lied to me! But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, because you accepted $6,000 to participate in an elaborate lie!” He says something like, “How dare you judge me when you orchestrated said lie and tendered payment of said $6,000!” I scream something like, “SHUT UP, SAID CHARACTERS!”
Meanwhile, a wedding happens, and considering this is my wedding blog instead of my hand-wringing-over-sex-work blog I should probably discuss that for a moment.
It’s in the UK, so there are many fabulous hats in attendance:
The costume designer should be given mad props for the bridesmaid dresses. I feel like it is not often you see realistic bridesmaid dresses in wedding movies. Either they are designed to be comically ugly or they don’t look anything like bridesmaid dresses. These are on the money:
Also, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I like the bride’s tiara:
Wedding lessons learned:
- Consider the effects on society that may trickle down from wanton granting of plus ones.
- But also keep in mind that having someone around whose business is love may save your wedding from last-minute cancellation.
- Don’t wear heavy eyeliner and frosted lipstick if you a pale blonde bride. Even if you are the only woman in the universe who can look cool wearing a wedding tiara.
June 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm
Ugh. I hated this movie. It was based on a book (of a different name that is now escaping me) that was actually slightly less oogie because in the book, the male prostitute character turned out not to be a prostitute at all — it was one of those terrible supposed-to-be-comic mix-up things. Oh, and the sister who was getting married wound up doing something really super rotten like actually being in love with and running off at the last minute with the ex-fiance, with whom she’d been having a secret affair for lo those many years. So the main character who had hired the escort wasn’t just the sad sack with the pitiful love life, she was the sad sack whose younger spoiled (half?) sister cuckolded her (if women can be cuckolded).
Or something. At any rate, terrible book led to even worse movie.
June 29, 2010 at 9:02 pm
The sister had banged the ex-fiance in the movie too, which is lame, but she manages not to run off with him, which made me happy because I like when wedding movies end with a wedding. Also, my favorite joke in the movie was, “you’re my half sister, but I whole love you!”
Having the date not actually be an escort might have made his indignation over being an escort make more sense. It wouldn’t necessarily save the movie from oogieness, though.
June 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm
My favourite part about the movie was the wedding dress. Loved it.
My least favourite part was the rest of the movie.
June 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm
I agree the wedding dress was fabulous. I was generally a fan of how they costumed the flat-chested ladies in flattering dresses instead of giving them industrial strength push-up bras.
June 30, 2010 at 1:14 am
I’ve never seen the movie, so thank you for saving me from having to.
And can I request my guests to wear great hats like those lovely British ladies?
June 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm
Right? Like where you’d normally write “formal attire” on the invitation, you can write, “fabulous hats welcome.”
June 30, 2010 at 7:29 am
I am hoping hats will become almost compulsory at my wedding!
Such an infuriating film.
June 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm
You know those hat fundraisers? [Full disclosure: I only found out about them a month ago when we were searching for venues and saw one in progress.] Maybe someone could have a hat fundraiser at their rehearsal dinner! And everyone could wear the hats to the wedding! And the money could go to a marriage equality charity or some such!
June 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Hat fundraiser?! Most go look up to find out more.
June 30, 2010 at 9:06 am
frosted lipstick is often a no-no. atleast for me anyways. i want hats at my wedding. i can see my aunt throwing one on and rocking it
June 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm
OR throwing the hat OFF, in celebration, at the conclusion of the ceremony! HATS FOREVER!
June 30, 2010 at 10:02 am
wait….she had to pay to give him oral? wtf. I hate this movie without even seeing it.
June 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm
And, because it was a PG-13 movie about prostitution, they have this entire conversation using terms like, “you know” and “did THAT.” UGH.
June 30, 2010 at 10:13 am
I barely remember this movie – we watched it a LONG time ago, and my mom kept asking what was going on and my sister and I kept feeling awkward. But I remember loving that Debra Messing has like, a million bags of totally matched teal luggage and I wish I was either cool or uncool enough to pull it off.
“tendered said payment of $6,000″…lawyered!
June 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm
The incredibly matching luggage was awesome. She then goes into a fit because he is wearing a tie the same color as her dress, because she doesn’t want to look too “matchy matchy.” Her character was a little inconsistent.
Also, I have been saying “lawyered” more than is appropriate.
July 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm
Saying lawyered is ALWAYS appropriate.
October 2, 2013 at 2:00 am
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February 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm
I am trying to find designer of wedding dress and tiara. Any help?