Monday, March 03, 2008

27 DRESSES - superior but still flawed rom-com

Today you're just the bitch who broke my heart and cut up my mother's wedding dress.27 DRESSES sees Katherine Heigl of KNOCKED UP play a sweet girl called Jane, who copes with early grief by becoming super-romantic, super-organised and super-accommodating. The movie is about Jane facing up to all of this. She has to stop obsessing over everyone else's life and start living her own. The film is at its best in the scenes where Jane argues through her issues with a cynical journalist called Kevin and her apparently obnoxious kid sister, Tess. Katherine Heigl is a delightful actress - she makes the audience feel sympathetic even when she's doing something truly mean, and she has a real talent for physical humour. She could easily become the Meg Ryan of her generation. I also like James Marsden in this movie. He seemes believable in the crumpled cynical journalist role, even though his character isn't as well fleshed out.

2 of the dresses on display at the Arclight, HollywoodThe problem with 27 DRESSES is that the screen-writers didn't leave it as a relationship drama with the odd painfully funny moment. Instead, they have shoe-horned the material into a formulaic romantic-comedy. So, we have quirky wise-cracking sidekicks, one of which is Indian. We have an understanding father who makes his grown daughter pancakes. We also have the path of true love blocked by a third man (in this case, Jane is in love with her boss, played by Ed Burns). Instead of people getting to know one another while walking down the street (Woody Allen style), we have implausible scenes of bar-room drunkenness. Just when love reveals itself, the girl is betrayed by her guy. And instead of a private declaration of love in the final act, we have a ludicrously stagey public avowal. Note that all these features apply not just to 27 DRESSES, but equally to another romantic-comedy on release this week: THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND. All of this is a great shame because 27 DRESSES could've been a great relationship film. Instead, it's just a superior, but still flawed genre movie.

27 DRESSES was released earlier in 2008 in Australia, Hong Kong, the US, Singapore, the Philippines, Argentina, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Estonia, Icleand, Russia and Spain. It opens next week in Belgium, the Netherlands and South Korea and on the weekend of March 14th in Finland and Ireland. It opens on March 20th in Russia and Italy an don March 27th in the UK and Sweden. It opens in Norway on April 11th and in France on April 23rd.

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