27 Dresses

  • 2008-03-19
  • By Abdul Turay

ANOTHER ROMCOM: This overly cliche film falls back on nearly every standard romantic comedy trick in the book.

Directed by Anne Fletcher

One statistic tells you everything you need to know about this movie. Apparently 75 percent of  viewers of "27 Dresses" are women. Presumably the rest of the audience have been dragged there reluctantly by their wives and girlfriends. This is a Chick flick with a capital C.

Dresses (can I call it that?) uses so many romantic comedy (romcom) cliches that it's almost reckless:  There's a solid, nice, handsome, boring boss. Add an even more handsome, dark haired, brooding cynical leading man. There's a dependable, caustic, best friend and a beautiful, glamorous, shallow younger sister. There's the bar scene where the two protagonists get drunk, sing badly, end up sleeping together and so on.
The film moves from A to Z with the predictability of the sunset. The protagonists hate each other at the beginning of the movie and by the end of it they get married, kiss and swear their undying love. Here's a movie that appeals to people, well women actually, with conservative tastes. Dresses has done pretty good business so it's as if the writer decided to grab caution from the  wind and said:
"OK, let's give the punters what they want, no silly gimmicks, no detours, no unusual premises, just a good old fashioned love story."

The plot for what it's worth is based on the old adage, always a bridesmaid never a bride.  Jane (Katherine Heigl) is a giving person  who's obsessed with weddings and spends her time arranging them for her many girl friends. Whilst reaching for the bride's bouquet at one event she is knocked down and helped up by "cynical, handsome, leading man" Kevin (James Marsden). Kevin gives Jane a lift home in a cab. He is a journalist who does the wedding write ups that Jane is sucker for. He  doesn't believe all the romantic gush he writes, or at least says he doesn't  and after discovering Jane's Filofax in the cab he pencils himself in as her next date for the rest of the year. Jane of course doesn't want to know because at this point in the proceedings she is in love with her "solid nice boring boss." Then the "beautiful shallow sister" shows up and moves in on her boss. Jane is forced to plan the marriage of the man she thinks she loves to a person to whom he is obviously not suited, meanwhile she gets to know Kevin and discovers there is more to him than biting wit, cynicism and good looks.

This is not a deep movie and let's not forget romantic comedies can be deep. "Groundhog Day"  widely regarded as one of the  most spiritual movies ever made, is at it's core a romantic comedy. It's not lack of insight that ruins the movie though, not every movie has to be a masterpiece. The plot is workman-like, as we have seen, but that still leaves characterization and chemistry between the actors to stop dresses from being dross. It falls wide of the mark in both instances. Here you don't actually believe that Jane and Kevin could be a couple. The whole thing seems a bit contrived. 

Now showing in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius


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