Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie – 27 Dresses (2007)

27 Dresses is your standard romantic comedy.  It stars Katherine Heigl as a woman who is “always a bridesmaid; never a bride.”  There are a number of people who hate Heigl just on principal.  If you are one of those people then this movie will not change your mind.  If, however, you can tell the difference between the real world and a movie, then you might be able to root for Heigl’s character to end up with someone who loves her. 

If you’re wondering if she does then you must never have seen a romantic comedy.  No one watches this genre to see something they have never seen before; they watch it because they want to see the guy and the girl live happily ever after.  Romantic comedies follow the same basic plot: guy and girl meet; there is some friction; they realize their attraction; guy screws up; guy makes it up to girl; girl forgives him; cue happily ever after.  Guess what you can expect from 27 Dresses?

Heigl plays Jane, a personal assistant to George (Edward Burns) who she has had a crush on for a long time.  Everyone except for him is aware of it, but she never tells him.  Her sister Tess (Malin Akerman) comes to visit her.  She is a model and when she and George meet, they have an immediate attraction to each other and soon are engaged.  This is Jane’s worst nightmare.

Making things even worse are that her sister is taking every idea Jane had for her own wedding, if and when it came, and planning to do them herself.  This includes wearing their mother’s wedding dress.  Jane, who has no backbone, agrees to help her sister marry the man that Jane loves.

While all this is going on, Jane has met Kevin (James Marsden), and while he is interested in her, she can’t stand him.  He was the photographer at a wedding where she was a bridesmaid.  He noticed her leaving and going to another wedding to be a bridesmaid there, too.  He connects with her, they talk, but she finds out he is about as cynical about marriages as you can get.  It’s hate at first sight.

Unbeknownst to Jane, Kevin is actually a newspaper man who writes her favorite articles about couples for the wedding section.  He writes under a different name, so she does not put two and two together.  He has been dying to get out of this “ghetto” of writing about weddings and wants to do some real journalism.  He tells his editor about Jane and that he thinks there is a story there, one about a woman who is a constant bridesmaid.  His editor agrees to let him write the story and tells him that if it’s good enough, she will move him to the section he wants to write for.

As part of his regular assignment, he shows up for one of the wedding planning events for George and Tess’ wedding and runs into Jane.  If she disliked him before, she is now crushed to find out that her favorite romantic writer is this cynical guy.  Making matters worse, her sister has been lying through her teeth to George about who she is, and Jane has all she can do to not reveal the truth to George and break up the wedding.

Will Jane and Tess reconcile?  Will Jane ever confess her feelings for George?  Will Jane and Kevin find out that they are perfect for each other?  Man, you really haven’t seen many romantic comedies, have you?

By the way, the title comes from the fact that Jane has been a bridesmaid 27 times and has saved every single dress in an overflowing closet in her apartment.  These include everything from a goth outfit to a scuba diving outfit.  There is a callback at the end of the movie to all of these dresses and it is a fun visual joke.

So, if you are looking for something original, not only is this the wrong movie, but it’s the wrong entire genre.  If you like romantic comedies then this will offer you what you are expecting to see.  It has some decent humor in it and Heigl and Marsden make a good looking couple.  They are a lot more believable as a couple than Heigl and Seth Rogan in the previous year’s Knocked Up.  Go ahead and give this movie a try.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

[Note – you can see all the Movies by Numbers, as well as get some hints on what’s to come, at this link.]

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  1. One of the reasons why it's hard for men to take rom-coms seriously is because it's often difficult to believe that the gorgeous leading lady could have remained single for so long.

    I wasn't too crazy about this movie but didn't hate it either. The likable characters and Heigl's charisma somewhat made up for the stale formula.

  2. I don't mind rom-coms, but the one thing that does sometimes bug me is that almost invariably it's the man who has to apologize to the woman, no matter what it is that he has done to incur her wrath. Sometimes this results in completely outrageous situations. In 40 Days and 40 Nights, the guy had to apologize to his girlfriend after getting raped, for God's sake. Imagine a movie where a woman got raped and had to apologize to her boyfriend for not remaining faithful to him.