Sunday 26 August 2012

27 Dresses (2008)

I can't help thinking whenever I see Katherine Heigl in a movie that she's somehow going out of her way to annoy as many people as possible. She's pretty but also comes over as pretty irritating and, worst of all, she has a knack for picking some of the worst projects that she could work on. Her knack for picking crap is actually uncanny.

In 27 Dresses she plays a young, successful woman named Jane who just loves being the bridesmaid and looks forward to one day when she will be the bride. She loves the joy and celebration of THE BIG DAY and, as you might have guessed, has kept all of her 27 bridesmaid dresses. She also happens to be in love with her boss (played by Edward Burns) but he takes a bit of a shine to her sister (the lovely Malin Akerman) and then there's a writer (James Marsden) who is intent on annoying Jane while also trying to find out more about her.

Directed in a completely by-the-numbers fashion by Anne Fletcher and written by Aline Brosh McKenna, 27 Dresses is the kind of movie that women can easily enjoy without giving too much thought to. But when any thought IS given to it the whole thing starts to look inept and ugly.

The cast have little to no chemistry. I don't really find Heigl that enjoyable to watch onscreen nowadays, after so many poor vehicles, and Edward Burns is inoffensive but has all the charisma of a grain of brown rice. Malin Akerman is usually someone I like but her character here is selfish and unpleasant, making her as unappealing as the others onscreen. James Marsden tries his best, and does well, but there's too much working against him. Thankfully, Judy Greer has fun playing the one decent character who is always fun to see onscreen - she's Jane's friend and gets the few decent lines that the script has.

So what's so inept and ugly about it? Well, the lack of chemistry between anyone makes the forced meetings and interactions feel even more false than usual. The motivations of the characters also, quite frankly, stink on most occasions. If those things don't bother you then take a moment to consider that the central, overriding, message is all about a successful woman with a great life feeling that nothing is complete without her marrying a man. Oh, I know that you can dig around through the layers of various romantic movies (be they comedies or serious films) and find the same, or very similiar, central idea but it's just so horribly blatant here that it's yet another aspect that makes Heigl in the lead role pretty unlikeable. She's a doormat, an easily cajoled and flighty woman who just wants to be a bride. That used to be the only thing that 10-year-old girls would spend their time thinking about back in the 1950s. Times have changed since then, maybe someone needs to tell Anne Fletcher and Aline Brosh McKenna (which is a harsh thing to say because McKenna has written a number of screenplays a LOT better than this sorry effort - but it makes my point).

Then that same person could try to save Katherine Heigl from herself, though I fear it may already be too late.


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