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27 Dresses (12A)

Nicola Mostyn finds there are no prizes for originality in this formulaic but enjoyable rom com

Published on March 25th 2008.

27 Dresses (12A)

Jane (Katherine Heigl) is a considerate sort of girl. She practically brought up her younger sister Tess (Malin Akerman) after their mum died, she has been bridesmaid twenty seven times and she is a devoted employee to her boss, George (Edward Burns), with whom she is secretly in love.

But the chances of her ever becoming his bride start to look slim when her sister turns up and captures George’s heart. Now she has to organise the most difficult wedding ever, meanwhile jaded wedding reporter Kevin Doyle (James Marsden) has been watching Jane hurl he self from ceremony to ceremony and seems to find her situation amusing - but is he as cynical as he seems?

As you might guess, 27 Dresses, directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) is not exactly pushing the boundaries of the romantic comedy genre. In fact, the film is almost ridiculously formulaic in its dutiful following of the rom com clichés, ticking them off like items on a wedding list: unrequited love; someone knocking themselves out diving for the bouquet; quirky, no-bullshit friend with the funny voice; scene where Jane is stuck in the rain with the guy she hates and nothing for it to get drunk and sing on top of the bar tables?

In fact 27 Dresses is so predictable you may think it would be wise to scribble decline on your RSVP, but actually, despite its unoriginality, this manages to be an enjoyable film. This is partly because it creates a warm, if undemanding, atmosphere by drawing on all the rom coms you’ve seen before, but mostly the film is lifted above lazy by the two fantastic leads.

Katherine Heigl, who was wonderful in Knocked Up, is again winning and convincing in the role of the people-pleaser whom her boss has failed to notice except as a trusted employee.

James Marsden (Enchanted) was seen in all three X Men films as Scott Summers/Cyclops but his talents (okay, I mean his looks) were somewhat wasted since he spent the whole time in shades. Here, as in Enchanted, Marsden comes into his own– he’s attractive and charismatic and forms the perfect foil for Heigl - the pair have the sort of sparky chemistry often attempted and rarely achieved, like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan with less schmaltz. It is their relationship, wholly predictable though it is, which adds depth and interest to this film.

The supporting cast are also strong. Malin Akerman pretty much reprises her role from The Heartbreak Kid as the annoying, self-centred dollybird Tess, and Edward Burns is a great choice for the solid, good looking but rather dull George.

With a soundtrack featuring Natasha Bedingfield, Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Ray, 27 Dresses is a girlie film which takes few chances but works well within its format. Think In Her Shoes meets You’ve Got Mail with a touch of Sex and the City – romantic, feel good, totally escapist and, much like a big, meringue wedding, not one for the cynics amongst us.

27 Dresses is out now

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