Sunday, May 25, 2008

Review: 27 Dresses (2008) [Review By Kelsey Zukowski]

Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns
Directed By: Anne Fletcher
Written By: Aline Brosh McKenna
Released: 2008
Grade: B

27 Dresses is a romantic comedy centering around the fascination many women have with marriage. This is also countered by the male take on marriage not being about love at all, but being about the pressures of societal norms. The woman’s perspective is shown through an obsessive manner while the man’s perspective is shown in an ironic and almost hypocritical way. The film presents a story where these two very different view points, might just be what each needs, to balance each other out and to find a common ground and perhaps even love along the way.

Jane (Heigl) lost her mother at a very early age. From then on she took on the role of the mother, particularly towards her younger sister Tess (Akerman). When Jane was still very young, she was in a wedding, where she fell in love with this ceremony and bringing together of two people from then on. She is a part of all of her friends weddings and actually does most of the planning for them. So far, she has done this 27 times and still has the 27 very different, and in some cases downright embarrassing dresses to prove it. Jane does all of this, hoping that when her special day finally comes that all of those people will be there for her to return the favor. Waiting for this does get hard for her, especially when she has to face the one man she is sure is the one for her, her boss, George (Burns). She is always there for him 100% and in ways beyond his typical employees. Jane has never had the courage to tell him how she truly feels though.

Just as Jane is about to profess her love to George, she sees that he is with Tess, who has just flown back in to New York. Jane is hoping that this will just be a one night hook up since that is how things seem to ordinarily go with her sister. Unfortunately, they stay together and soon enough they become engaged even if their relationship is based on a lie. Dealing with this fact is hard enough since Jane can’t seem to let either person know how she really feels. On top of this though, she ends up planning the wedding. Meanwhile, a writer for the commitments section of the newspaper, who covered one of the weddings Jane was at, Kevin (Marsden), comes in to Jane’s life. Even though he writes about these weddings and the beauty in them, he doesn’t believe in it at all. It is really just a job to him. Kevin is simply paying his dues until he can find work that is more interesting to him. He is astonished by Jane and how she can dedicate so much of her life to weddings, none of which are even for her. At first, Jane wants nothing to do with Kevin. Kevin doesn’t give up that easily though, especially after he realizes that writing a piece on Jane could be the perfect opportunity to write something more compelling. As they spend more time together, Jane realizes that the man for her might not be as unavailable or far off as she thought.

The cast in 27 Dresses worked very well together. Katherine Heigl did a good job of making us feel for her character as well as making us slightly annoyed with her situation, just wanted her to find some sanity and happiness in life. James Marsden as always brought great life to the screen, through charm even though his character wasn’t quite prince charming. He had his flaws, but at times it was almost easier to see things from his point of view mostly because he seemed to have a stronger sense of balance in his life even if it was at times hypocritical and cynical. As the film goes on after spending more and more time with Jane, these qualities seem to break down along with Jane‘s flaws, illustrating that each makes the other a better version of themselves. Malin Akerman as Tess at first seemed very superficial and just the kind of girl who gets whatever she wants without lifting a finger. She showed that there is more than meets the eye with her, as she has worries and for once wanted more than the typical guys who just comes and goes. A smaller role I enjoyed was by Melora Harden (“The Office”) as Kevin’s editor, with that same stern and tough exterior as Jan has. I also liked Judy Greer, as one of Jane’s best friends. However, it seems like she already played this role as Jennifer Lopez’s best friend in another wedding based movie, The Wedding Planner. Greer seems to be stuck in this role as the side kick, which I would really like to see her challenge to break out of.

After watching 27 Dresses, the word that stands out the most is cute. It is a very cute film, not anything new or a showcase of eternal love, but still very cute. There are a few worthy themes like doing things for yourself once in awhile, speaking your mind, and following your heart. The well written script helped to develop the characters involved as did the wonderful acting, making us feel for them and able to see things from each perspective offered. However, if you don’t typically like romantic comedies, chances are you won’t like this one either. If you can appreciate a fun, light hearted casual romance story that will leave you smiling, than this is a film worth checking out.

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