Movie Review: 27 Dresses

27 Dresses
Year Released: 2008
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Catherine Heigl, James Marsden, Edward Burns
Production Company: Fox 2000 Pictures

Catherine Heigl is the hot friend that doesn’t really say much unless there’s something interesting going on. There, I fucking said it. Heigl was hilarious in Knocked up, but when I viewed it again the other night, I was laughing at her predicament and Seth Rogen’s performance more than her. I’m guessing the studio execs figured they could capture Heigl’s funnier moments on screen when she’s running the show, but given the weak material, it comes off a little clichéd and tired.
Heigl is the eternal bridesmaid and hopeless romantic Jane, the magazine assistant who’s totally infatuated with her perfect boss George (Ed Burns). How eternal a bridesmaid is she? She’s been in, get this: 27 dresses. And for some reason keeps them all to constantly remind her how empty her life is that suicide is something better left to bankers and lawyers. Sorry, I had to add a little something to keep the article going. She’s also supposed to hate pretty boy writer/marriage cover guy Kevin (James Marsden), so you know she falls in love with the guy after she finds out something clichéd about her boss – oh yeah, her boss falls for her little sister and they get *gasp* engaged!

Personally I would have preferred if Heigl took the high road, grabbed an uzi and a couple shotguns and went nuts at her sister’s wedding; pumping one rage fuelled round after another into either prospective single men, or just the immediate targets of hate. Unfortunately for me, she sucks it in and pretends that she’s in support of the marriage and quietly decides to sabotage it at the last moment: classy. Well, it probably worked out best this way, considering my demographic (late 20’s, married and hates sappy romantic movies) would rather prefer sabotage to come in the form of a Beastie Boys video.

Speaking of videos, there’s a sing-a-long scene involving Heigl, Marsden and Benny and the Jets. Never has that damn song been more emasculating.

Billed as a romantic comedy, you’d think the producers would at least try a few different angles, bringing in a gay in-law to complicate things, or manically funny assistant or something. Rather, they play it out by the numbers and nearly bore you to death. Heigl herself isn’t quite up to calibre to carrying this film all by herself just yet: especially in the comedy arena. At least in Knocked Up, she could play off whatever joke Seth Rogen was making, and he spit them out faster than a condom machine in a high school boy’s room. So, to say that without that formula to keep it going, the laughs are stale and the screenwriters have to resort to pulling used items out of the hat with little to no need to worry about how the sequence of events fall into place.

At least in comedies, there’s the comedy relief; usually in the form of a fast talking, bumbling assistant or a friend that’s a real party animal of some sort, right? Not one to be found in this grinder mix – the camera achingly dotes on Heigl one scene after another, hoping to capture some of that natural hilarity that occurs after a night of drinking, or losing one’s panties in public. Well, they play it safe: what else can I say?

For all these qualities, there are some redeeming ones: in predictability, there’s a sort of calming effect in knowing what’s coming next: they slowly build to a slow climax that you saw coming even before the initial credits stopped. You know that Heigl is more suited to be supporting actress material, you even know that there’s going to be a sappy wedding at the end because all the whole damn movie does is reference weddings and marriage and commitment. So, it’s not horrible, but perhaps a notch above.

4 out of 10

Movie Review: License to Wed

License To Wed

Year Released: 2007
Directed by: Ken Kwapis
Starring: Robin Williams, John Krasinski, Mandy Moore
Production Company: Proposal Productions

Robin Williams has sunk his teeth into yet another role where he can improvise and chew up the scenery. What you end up with is another mishmash of the same dribble you’ve come to expect in the romantic comedy category.

Hey, I may be a dude, but I enjoy a good poke at relationships and dating. If it weren’t for these sappy movies I’m sure three quarters of the population wouldn’t have a reason to meet in the first place. So, here we go: Robin Williams has got that seventeen-year-old spirit that just can’t be duplicated. Unless he’s absolutely high on cocaine; but he’s cut that out of his diet since the early 90’s. Williams can easily steal the show if he’s not kept in line, and can turn a great movie into a mediocre one: which is what happened with License to Wed.

Jim announces his affair with Pam the secretary at the wrong time.

The movie is about two lovebirds who were destined for each other (Ben and Sadie) played by John Krasinski and Mandy Moore. After some courtship, the pair decide to get married, but there are some stipulations; namely they get hitched at the same church as the bride’s parents, and that they pass a martial readiness course run by family friend Reverend Frank (Williams). Trying to pass the marriage course is frustrating especially to Ben, as Frank tries at every opportunity to showcase Ben’s inadequacies by forcing word association games with in-laws, plants an audio bug in the couple’s bedroom, and is outwardly creepy and endangering all around. Especially that bedroom bug: seriously – wouldn’t you just bring the guy to court and get hitched in Vegas instead?

Of course, all the horrible things that Frank does are all justified by Sadie’s family. Does this mean they’ve all had to endure the humiliation of carrying around robotic babies that produce excrement, cry and look incredibly terrifying? What’s even worse, the filmmakers try to see things from Sadie’s point of view, how could we take her side in Franks escapades? Really, Sadie just comes off as stupid and insecure. If you fell in love with a guy, why would religion make you change your mind?

Besides this and I mean the MAIN PLOT, the movie is tolerable. My fun was had in seeing Office Star John Krasinski’s co-workers show up in similar roles throughout the movie. It shouldn’t be a surprise, director Ken Kwapis did direct the original US pilot for the show, so some co-stars had to sneak in.

“So we can return ‘A Walk to Remember anytime?”

The laughs come off as painful, and the script could use a little more fine tuning – it shows that the producers figured they could hinge the whole picture on Williams’ name alone. His character pushes too hard, controls his subjects and has a shady past himself when he’s a man of the cloth. So, why listen to this guy? He’s not even credible. The best part of the whole film is when Ben punches the reverend for interfering so much: finally! A movie that puts the wants of the public back in! But its short lived and it ends… well, it’s a Rom/Com – how do you think it ends?

The funny misses due to an overly possessive Robin Williams, all the other characters are as stock as soup cans and the plot is predictable. It’s not great, and there are other flicks that do more with less.

4.0 out of 10