Movie News & Reviews

Catch the bouquet with '27 Dresses'

Yes -- it's true. Despite those promises that one "can shorten it, and wear it again!" you really don't get an opportunity to do so.

How do I know? At the Raleigh sneak preview of "27 Dresses," we were treated to a parade of former bridesmaids wearing their full attendant outfits: gown, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

In only her second directorial effort, Anne Fletcher keeps things light and utterly romantic -- never dwelling on the downsides of the "Always a bridesmaid, never ..." syndrome.

Genuine to a fault, Jane, played earnestly by Katherine Heigl, is an accommodating saint who endures the hassle and humiliation of bridesmaid duties because she gets "to help someone on the most important day of their lives." Her most impressive feat: two weddings in one night.

But what good is being good without a wild and wonderful best friend? The fantastic Judy Greer plays Casey, whose "moral compass doesn't always point due north." Casey is not only supportive but hilarious, cautioning her selfless friend, "What good is being responsible if no one is naked?"

Jane gets a chance to meet Kevin, the "Commitments" columnist for the New York Journal whose articles she not only reads, but saves.

Alas, Kevin (a handsome and charming James Marsden) has a different take on weddings, which he sums up as "forced merriment, bad food and hypocrisy -- with a 50-50 shot of success right out of the gate."

After gently admonishing Jane for her easily exploited inability to say no, Kevin proceeds to not just hit on her but to write a story about this pitiful woman who has been a bridesmaid 27 times. Much to Jane's horror, the exposé runs -- complete with photos of the hideous dresses -- on the front page of the Style section.

Meanwhile, Jane's oblivious self-made boss, the rugged, outdoorsy George (Edward Burns), climbs mountains, runs a million-dollar business and appreciates his loyal, attentive assistant only professionally. When Jane's sexy, carefree sister Tess (Malin Akerman) sashays into town and seduces George, Jane is not only stunned but silently jealous. Of course, Jane then agrees to help her sister because, as she assures her skeptical interviewer, "The perfect bridesmaid always does exactly what she's asked."

Then it's back to reality, as Casey wisely reminds her, "You cannot plan your sister's wedding to the man you love; it's sick."

It's a predictable story, a bit too long, and sure, it's a fanciful confection of fluff and outrageous dresses. But it's an entertaining escape with attractive characters who barely argue, and -- gasp -- enjoy weddings.

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