Wednesday 15 January 2020

Movie Review: 27 Dresses (2008)

A romantic comedy, 27 Dresses lines up and knocks down all the genre's predictable fundamentals in a story of woman learning to look after her own needs.

In New York City, super-organized Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) is always invited to be the maid of honour and efficiently helps her many friends pull together their weddings. Caring and selfless, she helped raise her sister Tess (Malin Ã…kerman) when their mother died at a young age. Now Jane harbours a secret crush on her clueless boss George (Edward Burns).

While helping out at two different weddings on the same night, Jane meets Kevin Doyle (James Marsden), who covers weddings for the New York Journal but is himself cynical about romance and the institution of marriage. Flirty Tess blows into town and immediately sets her sight on seducing George, while Jane rejects Kevin's overtures to start a relationship.

Writer Aline Brosh McKenna penned the exquisite The Devil Wears Prada, so 27 Dresses is a particular disappointment. This Katherine Heigl vehicle is a strictly formulaic rom-com as Jane stumbles to find herself and prioritize seeking her own happiness.

The moments of humour are bland, with sidekick Casey (the ever dependable Judy Greer) providing the typical caustic comments from the best friend vantage point. The romance elements are cold, Jane pining for a relationship with her boss George when he is clearly not interested, while ignoring Kevin who clearly is.

The contrived conflicts arrive courtesy of the forward Tess, who unlike her sister goes out and gets what she wants. A tangential subplot about Kevin writing a long piece about the always-bridesmaid Jane for his newspaper is used to cause the usual rift between would-be lovers, but is really an excuse for a montage featuring Heigl posing in the titular 27 dresses.

Director Anne Fletcher brings enough polish if not pizazz to the film, Heigl is dependable if vaguely disengaged, and 27 Dresses provides just enough talent to maintain a base level of interest. But a bursting wardrobe does not make a movie, and 27 Dresses needed fewer garments and much more edge.

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