Friday, January 25, 2008

27 Dresses -comment

Amidst the formula of "27 Dresses", Katherine Heigl's Jane, wearing one of her 27 bridesmaid dresses, tells James Marsden's Kevin, "Someday, it'll be my day…" Kevin had asked Jane why she keeps being everyone's bridesmaid. Heigl's response and silence is so strikingly touching and moving. The surprise of "27 Dresses" is that is really about finding love and going after what you want. I was interested in chick movie "27 Dresses", because it was written by Aline Brosh McKenna, who wrote the screenplay for "The Devil Wears Prada". "27 Dresses" is formulaic and predictable, no doubt about this. However, Director Anne Fletcher's movie has humor and great heart. Katherine Heigl and James Marsden are amazing, and have wonderful chemistry. Heigl, who is stunningly beautiful, displays emotional depth and comfortable charm. I enjoyed her here more than in "Knocked Up". James Marsden ("X-Men") is finally being leveraged for his unique talents. This started with "Enchanted", now here in "27 Dresses". Marsden has a mercurial presence. He is very versatile. He is hysterical with Heigl as they drunkenly sing Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" in some dive bar. He is solid and vulnerable when he confesses to Jane, "You deserve more…"

So "27 Dresses" is predictable, pretty much after the first 10 minutes. Big deal. However, McKenna wonderfully unveils and reveals Jane and Kevin, throughout. She displays a particularly poignant touch about their favorite part of weddings. Fletcher and McKenna deliver humor and humanity in what could have been rather ordinary.

Jane's passion is weddings—other people's weddings. She even has a favorite Wedding columnist in the New York Journal. Actually, she possesses mastery as bridesmaid. When we first see Jane she is multitasking between two weddings. Basically, Jane can't say "No." Kevin (Marsden), who is a reporter covering one of the weddings, assists Jane after an unfortunate "jump ball" for the bridal bouquet. Kevin is on to Jane's bridesmaid glitch. After taking Jane home, Kevin under whelms her with his cynicism. Jane forgets her planner which has all her wedding schedules in their taxi. Kevin recovers her planner, and after reading it tells his editor Maureen (great Melora Hardin) that he may have a story about Jane.

Meanwhile, Jane holds a torch for her charismatic boss George (Edward Burns). Her pal Casey (funny Judy Greer) reminds Jane that she should either get a life or tell George. Unfortunately, Jane's younger sister Tess (aloof Malin Akerman) returns home. George falls for Tess, even though Tess is an obvious bitch and self serving liar. Well, I guess she is pretty and sexy. Eventually, George and Tess plan to marry, and Jane again is the bridesmaid. Jane is planning the wedding for her sister, who is marrying the man she loves. This does not escape Casey and Kevin. Kevin, hurt from a previous relationship, gets a glimpse at Jane's life and who she really is. He sees that she deserves someone great.

Doesn't take being a rocket scientist to figure how things may resolve. A few things are glaringly goofy about "27". For one thing, Tess played by Akerman is a completely unsympathetic bitch. Although the narrative ends gracefully for her, she is vapid and soulless. Consequently, George (Burns) comes off as complete idiot for choosing her. Akerman may be attractive, but Heigl as Jane is beautiful. Heigl playing it as "plain" Jane is a little ridiculous. Judy Greer is great as Casey, Jane's funny muse of common sense. She could have been leveraged more in "27".

Ultimately, Heigl and Marsden elevate and rescue "27 Dresses". Heigl has star presence that makes you rout for Jane to get what she deserves—a great life. She is smart, funny, and always touchingly believable. In a quiet scene where her Dad (Brian Kerwin) gives their mother's wedding dress to Tess, you can feel Heigl's soul empty. Marsden has an easy charm and compassionate depth. He too is wonderful in his silence, and hysterical in his rants. Along with Fletcher and McKenna, they implore charm and heart to overcome the movie's rough spots, and make "27 Dresses" unexpectedly fun and touching.


schwul-und-liberal said...

Full ack!

James Marsden is a great actor!