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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.55%
Worth A Look: 6.82%
Just Average: 18.18%
Pretty Crappy50%
Sucks: 20.45%

5 reviews, 14 user ratings

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27 Dresses
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Leave This One On the Rack"
2 stars

At one point during the new romantic comedy “27 Dresses,” a character describes a newspaper article as being “smart, biting and entertaining as hell.” Alas, these are words that not even the most indulgent fan of cheesy romantic comedies will be willing to use to describe the film itself. At another point, a couple of characters skid off the road during a rainstorm and find themselves spinning their wheels in the muck without getting anywhere, an event that comes far closer to summing up the entire experience. This is by-the-numbers filmmaking at its most resolutely anonymous and the result is a work so tiresome and irritating that the presence of Edward Burns in a supporting role is actually one of its less objectionable aspects.

“27 Dresses” is about a deeply disturbed woman whose emotional stunted behavior and desperate need to be needed is so pronounced that she has essentially dedicated her life to solving the problems and ensuring the happiness of virtually everyone she comes into contact with so as to avoid doing any of that for herself. This may sound like a weird and off-putting person to put at the center of a movie but since this is a “chick flick” (a phrase that I am normally loathe to use but there is no getting around it here), she is our heroine. (Before anyone writes in to accuse me of sexism, I ask you to first consult the lead characters of such films as “While You Were Sleeping,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and then try to convince me that they aren’t in need of long-term psychiatric care.) This would be Jane (Katherine Heigl), a young woman whose entire life seems to be dedicated to not-so-secretly pining for her hunky eco-millionaire boss George (Burns) and serving as a perpetual bridesmaid, what she calls her “purpose” in life, for practically everyone she knows–as the film opens, she is shuttling back and forth across town between two weddings that bring her grand total up to 27. Her exertions catch the eye of tough, hard-bitten wedding reporter Kevin (James Marsden) but naturally, they get off on the wrong foot when his cynical views of romance clash with her idealized notions of same–she comes away never wanting to see him again (even though she doesn’t yet realize that he is the same reporter whose wedding accounts she practically swoons over every week in the paper) and he comes away with her jam-packed Filofax which she has conveniently left in their cab.

Before long, Tess (Malin Akerman), Jane’s younger sister, who she has helped take care of ever since their mother died when they were kids, arrives in town and wouldn’t you know it, at just the moment that Jane is about to confess her true feelings to George, Tess comes in, catches his eye (and a few other body parts) and before long, the two of them are about to get married. Naturally, Tess wants Jane to be her maid of honor, which means that poor Jane not only has to watch her more popular sister steal the man of her dreams from her, she now has to attend to all the details of the foul ritual that will seal her unhappiness for good. If that weren’t bad enough, Kevin pops up again and begins nosing around Jane and her life. He claims to be writing a piece on the upcoming nuptials but is really planning a searing expose of Jane’s history as a bridesmaid that will rip the lid off the entire wedding industry for good and, if we are at all lucky, will be published the morning after they have succumbed to their mutual chemistry so that she can feel used and betrayed in scenes that will give way to a triumphant and highly public reconciliation at the climax. If I forgot to add “Spoiler Warning” back there, I am sorry. Then again, if you are actually deluded enough to think that there is any doubt as to the outcome of this movie, then I am even sorrier.

Okay, I am willing to admit that I may not exactly be a member of the target audience for this particular film and that the arcana of the contemporary wedding experience may be somewhat elusive to me–of the weddings that I have attended so far, my only duties have been to show up on time (successful), attempt to track down a print of an old Christopher Atkins movie to serve as post-ceremony entertainment (not as successful) and not skip out on a reception in order to catch a screening of “Shaft” being held directly across the street (successful, but only because my beloved mother would have killed me if I had done it). That said, I can still imagine how the basic concept of “27 Dresses” could have been molded into an interesting film–somewhere out there, there is a good dark comedy about a woman who is so torn between her desire for a fairytale wedding and her fear of commitment that she has transformed the phrase “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” from a vague threat to a solemn vow. Alas, such an idea does not seem to have ever entered the mind of director Anne Fletcher (late of the inexplicably popular “Step Up”) or screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (best known for her adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada”). Instead, they have mere offered viewers a compilation of virtually every scene that has ever appeared in a film of this type. We get a montage in which our heroine tries on a number of dresses, a number of scenes in which she banters with her snarky/slutty best pal (Judy Greer in the film’s liveliest performance–so much so, in fact, that you may find yourself wishing that she had been given the lead role), a scene in which she runs from one room into another and goes into a screaming fit before realizing that she has stumbled into someone’s 50th anniversary party, a scene in which she sadly sits by the sidelines while the man that she adores goes off with someone else (although when you consider that the most profound thing that she can say about him is “He would rather spend his time outside than anywhere else,” you can’t help but think that maybe she isn’t missing out on that much), a scene in which she bonds with the guy she thought she hated over many shots of alcohol and a barroom singalong to “Benny & the Jets”) and a couple of moments where she spectacularly pratfalls so that we can realize that she is a normal girl after all. These are just the ones that I can recall off the top of my head–if you and your friends do decided to go to this movie, you might want to jot down your favorite cliches on a bingo card and play along from your seats.

Okay, I am further willing to admit that a film like “27 Dresses” is not the kind of thing that people go to in order to experience complex and genre-busting narratives–we go to see pretty people go through the time-honored paces in the hopes that their charms will give the material the same kind of boost that Julia Roberts did for “Pretty Woman” and Anne Hathaway did in the “Princess Diaries” films. And yet, even in that respect, the film comes up short. Katherine Heigl is charming and pretty enough and showed a nice flair for comedy in last summer’s “Knocked Up” but she doesn’t quite have the kind of overwhelming on-screen personality that would allow her to completely sell viewers on material as threadbare as this. Likewise, Marsden scored a lot of laughs last year with his inspired supporting turns in “Hairspray” and “Enchanted” but he also comes up short here–at times, he seems so bored with the proceedings that he seems to be struggling to show any interest in the proceedings. Together, they strike zero sparks and since this is the kind of film that lives or dies on the strength of the chemistry between the lead performers, it is pretty much a doomed effort from the get-go. Watching them going through the motions, I found myself growing so bored and restless that I began hoping in vain that the monster from “Cloverfield” would suddenly invade this New York story and perk things up–luckily, I happened to see it in a multiplex where “Cloverfield” was playing next door and the sound bleed was so pronounced that it often sounded as if the beast was right around the corner preparing to attack.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of complaints about the wonderful and inventive comedy “Juno” from people who object to its snarky attitude, its hipster soundtrack and references and the fact that the central character allegedly doesn’t talk the way that a normal person might in real life. Well, if you are one of those who feel that way, I can’t recommend “27 Dresses” to you more highly–this is a film with no attitude to speak of, no endearingly quirky characters and not a single line of dialogue that you would want to quote later except out of derision. If “Juno” is the cinematic equivalent of an exquisite wedding dress that has been delicately constructed and beautifully deployed, then “27 Dresses” is the kind of hacky bridesmaid outfit that is so ugly to contemplate that it deserves nothing better than to be crumpled up and shoved so far in the back of the nearest available closet that it will never see the light of day again.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16833&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/18/08 22:56:56
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User Comments

2/24/18 Nelda B loved it, too little romatic comedy made these days 4 stars
7/28/17 Bob Dog Hilarious ROM-COM, I loved this one! 5 stars
7/05/11 art Katherine didn't fit in most of Them! 2 stars
2/13/11 art this is a DRESS that does not fit!!!! 1 stars
11/27/08 little Red just like every other romance movie 2 stars
9/07/08 Carol Durbin It was okay, had a cute parts but not the best work I have seen from her. 3 stars
5/17/08 caiphn Watched this on the airplane, absolutely horrid. Dumb girls gush for Katherine. 1 stars
4/11/08 Katie I enjoyed this one. I thought it was funny. 4 stars
3/01/08 Theresa Wagner I liked it, its a chick flick, Katherine is a gifted actress 4 stars
2/12/08 elisa perkins Blah. Nuf said 2 stars
2/08/08 Sully Yawn, airplane movie 2 stars
2/02/08 Alina This movie was amazing. 5 stars
1/21/08 Jayson Katherine is finally a star. 3 stars
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  18-Jan-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Apr-2008

  27-Mar-2008 (12)

  10-Jan-2008 (PG)

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