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