Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 17 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
The basic premise of 27 Dresses is that all woman dream of being married; it’s the natural order of things. That’s what every woman sets out to accomplish, denials to the contrary. Look, everybody’s doing it. Well, almost.
Here, “everybody” is all of Jane’s (Katherine Heigl) friends – 27 of them have already taken the plunge and she has all of the train wreck couture to prove it. Jane will attend cake tastings, dress fittings and can be counted on to hold the billowy, white train well out of the way when the bride has the urge to tinkle. She’s confident that they will all return the favor when it’s her turn. Will they?
Jane has a long, long, crush on boss, George, (Ed Burns) whom she idolizes from afar. George sees nothing but a reliable assistant in Jane. She also has a wisecracking friend and co-worker, Casey, (Judy Greer) who, like all good sidekicks, delivers observant and irreverent one-liners and tries to pitchfork Jane into action instead of polite introversion.
Enter younger, more irresponsible sister Tess (Malin Akerman) who scoops up George in one night and eventually gets engaged in a romantic whirlwind that leaves Jane feeling like she’s just been punched in the gut. Jane is more conservative than her flashy sister, who is the very embodiment of a vacant, blonde, giggly, young woman. Can’t George see that? Not this early in the film. He sees only the chameleon personality that Tess presents as authentic. Of course, Tess asks Jane to help with the wedding plans. Poor Jane can sympathize with what a pin cushion goes through, tiny, painful reminders of unrequited love sticking her at every turn.
Meanwhile, newspaper reporter, Kevin (James Marsden) hiding behind an AKA byline for his work in the wedding pages, spies Jane on one of her bridesmaid’s adventures (two weddings in one night, wildly different themes necessitating wardrobe changes in a cab, good for a flash of skin here and there). Finding and reading her overcommitted Day-Timer, he convinces his editor that Jane’s story would make a good feature. Worming his way into her life, he photographs her in all 27 of her bridesmaid’s outfits. Jane has a thing for weddings and Kevin has a thing for Jane.
Can’t Jane see that Kevin has an authentic interest in her? Or that his teeth are whiter than milk? Or that his eye color matches his blue shirt? Will George ever get a clue? How about Tess? And Jane herself? Only the cynical Kevin seems to have a grip on what’s going on - or should be, but isn’t.
You can probably guess where all this is heading, but there are some surprises.
As usual, none of the characters can “see” anything, just the all-knowing audience, who has had all of the necessary information visually spoon-fed to them. Those onscreen remain clueless and as shortsighted as Mr. Magoo.
Kevin is outed when his piece on Jane, the perennial bridesmaid, hits the newspaper and Jane is suddenly a local celebrity, albeit humiliated and betrayed (we’re in the boy loses girl part of the show, folks).
There is a scene of comeuppance and sibling revenge which rings hollow and portrays Jane as cruel, no matter how justified she may be. Jane realizes she has no chemistry with George – as if one kiss can erase years of longing. True enlightenment happens on a boat celebration for (what else?) – a wedding that Kevin is covering. Jane literally leaps aboard at the last possible second. Talk about taking the plunge. Can you say foreshadowing? What happens next is anyone’s guess. Just kidding.
Director Anne Fletcher (Step Up) lucks out with Heigl as the lead of her second effort. Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) sticks strictly to formula with a few quips and wisecracks thrown in, and one surprisingly mean detour of a scene that’s so anti-feel good you may want to rethink your alliances to the various characters.
Extremely warm and likable, Katherine Heigl pulls off sincerity, sweetness and hurt in just the right percentages. As the kind-heartened, overburdened female friend who looks out for everyone but herself, she’s the heart of the story, the only one you really care about – unless you’re hopelessly in lust with Marsden – who’s almost prettier than his leading lady at times. His character’s wry observations on marriage save the dialogue from getting too saccharine at times.
Judy Greer is a welcome cynic in a sea of thick wedding cake frosting. Malin Akerman plays yet another unlikable character, on par with her roles in The Heartbreak Kid and The Brothers Solomon. Her Tess is a tad more bearable with some redeeming qualities late in the film, so maybe better roles are coming. Ed Burns is just there, clueless and bored, but easy on the eyes.
When you go to a wedding, you usually know the sequence of events and can recite them in order from start to finish, from guest seating to bouquet toss. Unfortunately, that formula translates into a predictable walk down the aisle in a land of cinema love, filled with pretty men and ugly dresses.
If I could award an extra half-chick, I’d give it to Heigl for being such a good sport.