27 Dresses is about as standard of romantic comedy fare as you can get, but some very likable and funny performances push it into recommendation territory. Best of all, it doesn’t resort to poorly-executed slapstick (okay, it does a little) or preachy anti-male tirades for laughs. Sure it’s predictable, but what do you want in this movie? A sad ending? That would be called a drama.
Katherine Heigl is Jane, a bachelorette who has been a bridesmaid in twenty-seven very different weddings. She has loved weddings her whole life, and even has every bridesmaid dress crammed into a small closet in her New York apartment. Jane has a big crush on her boss, George (Burns), but always hesitates to make a move. Things get turned on their side when Jane’s little sister, Tess (Ackerman), comes to visit. She’s bubbly and outgoing, and immediately finds herself dating, falling in love with, and getting engaged to George – all in a matter of weeks. On Jane’s end, she’s devastated – but she’s fending off her own would-be suiter, columnist Kevin (Marsden).
Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna’s script is surprisingly witty, even as it rides the rails of the utterly familiar. The best moments lie in the exchanges between Heigl and Marsden, usually as they’re sipping on some form of alcohol. Isn’t that how it always works? Each character has a wiseass trait, which keeps the film from taking itself too seriously. It never tries to be anything more than fluffy entertainment, but this could be a major poison apple for those females who are obsessed with marriage. Pick your battles wisely, guys.
Katherine Heigl, hot off the success of Knocked Up, has a nice screen presence and showcases the same comedic timing as in the latter film. She fares much better when given dry, cunning humor as opposed to the unnecessary slapstick that occasionally creeps in. James Marsden, however, steals every scene he is in. Marsden had a breakthrough 2007 and here he’s right in his element as a facetious newspaper columnist. Malin Ackerman is suitably annoying and Edward Burns continues his stunning descent from the ranks in a thankless supporting role.
27 Dresses, even with its faults, decidedly surpasses most of the rom-com fare of the past twelve months. Credit the above-average cast and a screenwriter who knows what’s funny without trying too hard. The messages regarding weddings are mixed, but who cares. It’s January, it’s cold, and this film will get the job done for couples who need a mid-winter escape.
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Length: 107 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for language, some innuendo and sexuality.
Theatrical Release: January 18, 2007
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna
Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Melora Hardin, Judy Greer