No one knows how to define a movie star, as opposed to a damn fine actor. Stars have a certain charisma, a certain way of making the most ludicrous things okay just by their presence - they have 'it'. Katherine Heigl, I am happy to say, has 'it'. The film she so valiantly tries to carry on her shoulders, however, doesn't.
In a role that is a definite step back for the all the feminists out there, Katherine Heigl plays Jane, a selfless, doormat-y, used, and tolerant best friend who is always there for everyone's weddings. She takes care of everything, and makes their moment perfect. This, needless to say, means she doesn't have time for herself. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
She pines for her boss (played by Edward Burns as if he could, and he must, do this in his sleep), though, predictably enough, doesn't say it. In a desperate attempt at being Cameron Diaz, Malin Akerman is the thankless, self-obsessed younger sister, who hits it off with the boss, and soon they are headed the wedding route.
Somewhere in the middle of all this is Manhattan columnist Kevin Doyle (James Marsden), who is interested in Jane for the story he thinks will boost his career - the perpetual bridesmaid. He is ostensibly also covering younger sister Tess' wedding, so that gives them a lot of chances to hang out together. This, as you may have already guessed, is the romance that Jane so truly deserves but can't identify over all the skepticism the character has.
Get the hook yet? Yep, it is the same romantic comedy pap that has been fed to us since forever. Not one beat moment or smile is something that could even resemble natural or fresh. Indeed, your film is in serious trouble when to describe your protagonist as being skeptical, you have to say the word out loud multiple times.
With all the women helming the material - director Anne Fletcher, who is an accomplished choreographer, and writer Aline Brosh McKenna, the one with The Devil Wears Prada behind her - I was hoping at least the lead actress would have some more bits of personality than the ever pining, humiliated, wedding-obsessed border-line neurotic Jane.
Nothing about the script is unpredictable; you see every plot development coming a mile off. That would be okay because this is not a thriller, but you can tell the plot devices not because the film has engrossed you, but because it never steers away from the rom-com formula that seems to work so well.
The kind of audience that lines up for this film is a fairly easygoing one. Weddings are rife with moments to make fun of, and moments to bring a tear to your eye. 27 Dresses doesn't try too hard in either department, and only just about succeeds in some well-written lines, mouthed by the radiant Heigl.
After Knocked Up, Heigl proves once again that she has what it takes to don the mantle of cute-likable-romantic-interest in films. 27 Dresses, though it never gives her room for much range, is still the place where she comes of her own as a bona fide star. Along with Judy Greer, stuck in a role she has done at least 5 times before yet brings a new snarky-ness to this one, Heigl was the reason I had a good time watching this film.
This is a by-the-numbers directed rom-com, and if that is your thing, you won't come out too disappointed. Even if it isn't, the very least you can look forward to is the absolutely note perfect timing that Heigl and Greer have, and the way she smiles to make us forget the claptrap of a plot. She deserves a better script and a director, though even swimming in all this mediocrity, she stands tall.