Movie Review: 27 Dresses

Like the film itself, the titular twenty-seven dresses offer nothing overly special, yet it is rather hard to discredit the product as a whole. 27 Dresses is an amusing chick flick from the writer who penned The Devil Wears Prada. What 27 Dresses lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in humor and fiery dialogue. Best of all is Katherine Heigl, who shines here just like she did last summer in Knocked Up, completing the transition from television to movie star.
Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, Jane has collectively helped twenty-seven of her close friends tie the not, dreaming of the day when she can marry her attractive and successful boss, George (Ed Burns). When her European trotting, blonde sister Tess (Malin Akerman) comes back into town, that dream is quickly shattered. Sweeping George off his feet, he and Tess plan a hurried wedding which Jane begrudgingly helps to coordinate. Discovering Jane’s obsession with weddings, and her unusual romantic triangle, reporter Kevin (James Marsden) devises a plan to expose the perpetual bridesmaid to land himself a front page story.

There are a handful of characters in 27 Dresses and unfortunately this over abundance leads to a problem for this film. Most characters lack strong development, specifically Kevin (James Marsden). While Kevin is a cynical, divorced man, there is little more to build his character arc on. The good news is that Kevin is an engaging and occasionally charming character. Several scenes that feature Kevin and Jane together are enjoyable, in particular the when the duo sing and dance with a barroom full of drunks to Elton John. As for Jane’s sister and boss, both are on screen for a moderate amount of time but never receive enough detail to really give a greater depth to their individual characters.

Director Anne Fletcher (Step Up), a former dance choreographer, does nothing extraordinary visually but she also does not get in the way of Heigl and the principle cast. This serves as both a good and bad thing. Fletcher employs little visual sense, telling the story as by the numbers as possible. This makes for some bland scenes that don’t exactly pop off the screen. However, she also lets the cast play off one another quite well, even if the chemistry is not always consistent between the romantic leads.

Some of the film is edited rather awkwardly, disrupting the pacing and rhythm of the movie. There are several scenes that should have hit the cutting room floor and found their way into the deleted scenes feature on the DVD. Also, the last third of the film comes off rather trite, forcing one last cheap gag down audiences’ throats, leaving audiences on a sour note.

While the story is not exactly enthralling, 27 Dresses turned out to be quite entertaining thanks to Heigl’s presence. The predictable rom-com formula is indeed present, but Heigl has done a remarkable job of keeping the film from falling apart at the seams. While many of the males in the audience will not care less about how many dresses Jane has, she remains likable and human enough to keep viewers engaged.