Directed by Anne Fletcher
Written by Aline Brosh McKenna
Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, and Edward Burns
Romantic comedies may be formulaic, and they may not bring anything new to the art of cinema. The plots may be contrived, and the people in them may be so good-looking that even if the plot were realistic, you would know it is still a fantasy world. And all of life’s major moments may be compressed into a two-minute montage set to pop music. But at the end of the day, romantic comedies can be entertaining. Sure, I like it when a film makes me think and contributes to my understanding of the world, but I’m also perfectly happy when a film entertains. Just like people watching sports want to see others fulfill their dreams in an amusing manner, romantic comedies are a girl’s (and sometimes a guy’s) dream romance played out on the big screen. “27 Dresses” is certainly entertaining.
The plot is pretty simple. Jane (played by Katherine Heigl) is a compulsive planner who thinks it is her duty to take care of everyone around her, including her boss (Edward Burns) who she also happens to love. Unfortunately, he only sees her as his assistant, and when Jane’s beautiful little sister Tess (Malin Akerman) comes to town, he falls for her. Now, Jane, who has been a bridesmaid 27 times (hence the title) has to plan her sister’s wedding to the man she secretly loves. All the while, Kevin (James Marsden), a man who hates weddings, yet writes about them for a newspaper, is questioning Jane’s infatuations with weddings while writing pieces on Jane and her sister. Needless to say, romance and humor pervade and you can probably guess the ending now.
One of the best features of “27 Dresses” is that it involves so many weddings, and not from the bride’s perspective but from the wedding party’s — in particular, the maid of honor’s. These wedding days are not the happiest days of Jane’s life, though she does love weddings and doesn’t mind wearing some of the most ridiculous dresses known to man. Exceptionally funny is the montage where all of the brides tell Jane that if she just shortens her dress she can where it again, when we all know that no matter how nice the bridesmaid dress, no one ever wears them again.
However, perhaps what is most amazing about this film is Heigl’s ability to take on the persona of someone who could be overlooked by her boss, father, and spoiled sister. I mean, let’s be honest, Katherine Heigl is gorgeous, but in the movie, you actually accept her as someone who fades into the background. Some of this is due to her darker hair, but mostly it is her acting. You see her struggle to be supportive of her sister while her own heart is breaking. And you squirm at how awkward she can be when near her boss. While in reality Heigl certainly doesn’t mind speaking in front of a crowd, her character would shrink away from such a responsibility (unless, of course, she had to make a toast at a wedding).
In addition to Heigl’s performance, Marsden gives an understated yet entertaining performance as a man who doesn’t like weddings but must go to them for work. He never makes the huge (and unrealistic) romantic gesture, but the audience falls in love with him gradually so that by the end the people in my theater were clapping. Sure, the movie is no masterpiece, but it’s a nice break from reality, and at the very least, will make you realize that your bridesmaid dress could have been so much worse.