- Rated PG-13
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All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
o doubt jazzed that Katherine Heigl tied the knot only a few weeks before the release of her wedding-themed comedy “27 Dresses,” the executives over at 20th Century Fox have something to be even happier about. In a season where most trips to the movies result in a malicious verbal lashing on the behalf of critics everywhere, “27 Dresses” manages the impossible: it doesn’t suck. Better yet, it takes an incredibly formulaic setup and creates one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies of the last few years.
Heigl stars as Jane, the owner of the titular dresses and a self-proclaimed wedding fanatic who has been a bridesmaid – you guessed it – 27 times. Secretly in love with her boss George (Ed Burns), Jane waits for the day that she too can experience the once-in-a-lifetime event that so many women dream about, but when a cynical wedding columnist (James Marsden) catches wind of her interesting life, he looks to exploit the story for a promotion. Jane's luck worsens when her little sister (Malin Akerman) catches the eye of George at a get-together, prompting him to propose prematurely, and forcing Jane into the role of the perfect bridesmaid yet again.
While films like “27 Dresses” are easy to criticize for their complete lack of logic (honestly, who is that close to 27 people, let alone two that have a wedding on the same night?), the story is light and fluffy enough that if you’re able to suspend disbelief, you’ll end up enjoying the final product more. Much of this can be credited to writer Aline Brosh McKenna, whose sharp-witted adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada” resulted in one of the more refreshing comedies of 2006. With "27 Dresses," McKenna delivers yet another smart script that doesn’t rely on the cheesy one-liners or prepackaged monologues we’ve all come to expect from the genre, and in doing so, only serves to highlight the talent of its two leads.
Katherine Heigl may have shown A-list potential in “Knocked Up,” but she proves it here with her turn as the likeable everywoman, and though she’s not as prolific as Julia Roberts was during her heyday, the young up-and-comer definitely has the chops to carve out a similar career. Meanwhile, James Marsden continues to build on a great year with his turn as the charming reporter, and while earlier roles seemed to indicate he lacked the range for leading man status, his highly underrated performances in “Hairspray” and “Enchanted,” as well as his work here, looks to remedy that in the coming months.
Offering great support is Ed Burns, Malin Akerman and Judy Greer (who all but steals the show early on), but the real star of “27 Dresses” is Heigl, who’s given a character that, unlike most romantic leads, actually feels like a real person. It definitely helps in convincing the audience of the farcical setup, and it goes a long way in making this one romantic comedy (and for that matter, January release) that isn’t a complete waste of time. Women will love it, and men won’t hate it.
Single-Disc DVD Review:
Just as we’ve all come to expect from 20th Century Fox, the single-disc release of “27 Dresses” sounds better than it is. Though the DVD gets off to a good start with an enjoyable making-of featurette (“The Wedding Party”), the bonus features take a turn for the worst with three much shorter (and ultimately duller) featurettes: “You’ll Never Wear That Again,” “Jane’s World,” and “Running with the Brides.” Also included are four deleted scenes and an inside look at “What Happens in Vegas…”