27 Dresses Review
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The bridesmaid dress: an unnaturally-colored torture device made of shiny satin and rustling taffeta, accented by big, unflattering bows and ruffles and accessorized with flowery hairpieces and dyed-to-match shoes. Uncomfortable, expensive, and purposely designed to make even the bride’s hottest single friends look like washed-out, fluffed-up trolls. It’s a painful rite of passage for all women—one with photographic proof that’s preserved for all of time.

Fortunately, thanks to my small family and my tendency toward male friends, I have just five of them. But Jane (Katherine Heigl) has 27—all stuffed into a closet in her apartment.

Ever since Jane was a little girl, she’s loved weddings. Some might even say she’s obsessed with weddings. She’s helped all of her friends on their Big Day—and she has the collection of dresses to prove it. Someday, of course, Jane would like to have her own Big Day—but until the love of her life, her boss, George (Edward Burns), starts seeing her as more than just his assistant, she’ll just keep shoving more dresses into her closet.

When Jane’s gorgeous little sister, Tess (Malin Akerman), comes for a visit, though, she shatters Jane’s dream—by snagging Jane’s dream groom. When George proposes, Jane starts planning her sister’s dream wedding—closely observed by Kevin (James Marsden), the cynical reporter who’s covering the wedding.

After a painfully long opening scene, in which Jane races back and forth between two different weddings, things begin to pick up for 27 Dresses. Heigl is lovably delusional as Jane, and she plays her discomfort with her sister’s new relationship relatively well. Though Katherine Heigl is far from homely-big-sister material, she makes you believe her character—and feel her pain. Especially in the beginning, the story is fluffy but cute—and it helps that it’s surprisingly smart and well-written.

It’s not long, though, before the old chick-lit clichés kick in—and it seems as though the screenwriter switched to autopilot. Everything becomes more and more predictable—so predictable, in fact, that I started quoting lines verbatim before the actors said them. And though I won’t give away the ending—in case you’ve never seen a chick flick before and want to be surprised—you’ll see it coming before the movie even starts.

But perhaps my annoyance is mostly due to Malin Ackerman, whose relentlessly irritating character mixed with a hearty dose of painful overacting made me cringe every time she showed up on-screen. Or maybe it’s because George, the object of Jane’s affection, is about as lovable as a cardboard cutout. Or maybe because Kevin, though well-played, isn’t really developed as a character.

As far as chick flicks go, 27 Dresses is slightly better than average. It has some genuinely funny moments—and Heigl and Marsden are undeniably adorable. If you’ve ever been in a wedding (or five), you’ll be able to relate to the ugly dresses and the horror stories. And had the story stayed as smart and funny and sometimes even surprising as it is in the first half, it could have been well above average. Unfortunately, it falls prey to a few too many chick flick clichés.

If 27 Dresses were a bridesmaid dress, it would be wearable but garishly pink, with a big, unflattering bow on the butt—tolerable and even cute in parts but not something you’ll be dying to wear [watch] again.

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