Friday, January 4, 2008

Katherine Heigl shines in "27 Dresses"

*** out of ****

"27 Dresses" is the new chick-flick of '08, but, guys beware, this is one you can go to and still have a laugh.

We have seen some variation of the formulaic romantic comedy "27 Dresses" countless times. Does it give us any new insight on the subject of marriage? No. Does it offer anything remotely original? No. Does it make an enjoyable comedy? Yes.

Katherine Heigl, of "Gray's Anatomy" and "Knocked Up" fame plays late twentysomething Jane, a hopeless romantic. Jane's life is neat and organized, working as an assistant at an eco-friendly company. Her boss George (Edward Burns) is oblivious that Jane holds a secret love for him. Jane's love life, however, sits on the back burner while acting as her friends' go-to-gal for planning weddings.

Jane is the embodiment of "always a bridesmaid never a bride." She's been one 27 times and counting. Keeping all the dresses crammed into an overflowing closet provides many amusing flashbacks.

At a pre-wedding party for a co-worker, Jane finally works up the nerve to ask George out, but her younger sister Tess (Malin Akerman) beats her to the punch.

The news gets worse when the manipulative Tess becomes engaged to George, which devastates Jane.

When Tess asks Jane to plan her impromptu wedding, spineless Jane can't say no.

In the meantime, Kevin (James Marsden), writer for the commitments section of The New York Journal, is pessimistic about marriage. Meeting Jane at a wedding, Kevin's persistent for a date, popping up in her daily life after finding Jane's dropped planner.

They eventually start dating, but Jane can't stop being frustrated with planning the wedding of the groom who should have been hers.

Jane also can't stand to see George get hurt, being blinded by Tess' lies and fake persona.

"27 Dresses" is consistently funny throughout. The montage of Jane wearing the 27 dresses is hilarious and the drunken karaoke scene is a highlight of the movie.

Heigl is amusing as Jane and handles the dramatic scenes nicely with plenty of chemistry wtih James Marsden.

Newbie Swedish actress Malin Akerman ("The Heartbreak Kid") wasn't exaggerated enough for most of her scenes, causing them to be somewhat lackluster.

Edward Burns is suitable as George, but acts too aloof throughout the movie.

Judy Greer, who plays Jane's co-worker and best friend Casey, provides comic relief.

In her second attempt at directing after the hit "Step Up," Anne Fletcher, a long time choreographer, paces the film well with drama and comedy in the mix.

Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna ("The Devil Wears Prada") wrote the witty screenplay. Unlike most romantic comedies, the script is believable without relying on unrealistic coincidences.

In a sea of cute date movies, "27 Dresses" is certainly engaging (no pun intended).

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