Comedy ‘dresses’ up bridesmaid sorrows

Jane (Katherine Heigl) shows off one of her many bridesmaid’s outfits in a scene from the film 27 Dresses.  The romantic comedy hit theaters on Jan. 18.By Shavon Keller

We all know of the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings fanatics who dress in costume to see these epic films, but who would have thought that a romantic comedy could bring out similar reactions? 27 Dresses was just the film to pull that off.

Seeing three women dressed in identical lavender puffy gowns, laughing and nodding their heads in approval of the film, it’s easy to say that there are many women out there who could relate to this playful comedy.

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride is only too true for Jane (Katherine Heigl). With her romantic views and endless desire to please, Jane is the perfect doormat for almost everyone in her life: her sister, boss and the 27 friends for whom she has been a bridesmaid. It isn’t until her sister’s engagement to her boss, who also happens to be her secret crush, that Jane’s life as doormat becomes unsettling.

At the same time, Jane begins a relationship with journalist Kevin (James Marsden). Kevin is the perfect challenger of Jane’s idealistic views with his own cynical ideas of love and marriage.

Heigl gives a flawless performance with just the right mixture of sweetness and sincerity to make her character’s naiveté come to life on screen. We have really seen Heigl develop as an actress from the television shows Roswell and Grey’s Anatomy to her last film, Knocked Up. Even though she hasn’t been a bridesmaid 27 times, she makes Jane a believable and sympathetic character.

Marsden is a great counterpart for Heigl with his playful charm and candor. He shows his depth as an actor and successfully pulls off being the cynic of love. These two characters bring out the better sides of each other, creating humorous moments, such as Jane modeling her 27 horrid bridesmaid dresses for Kevin’s, and our, amusement. But it’s the characters’ clashing views throughout the film that make for some interesting conflicts and provide a medium through which the film poses its questions about love and relationships to its viewers.

Judy Greer (The Wedding Planner), although she has a minor role, brings the right amount of quirkiness to her character as Jane’s best friend, Casey. Their relationship is true and straight to the point; Casey acts as Jane’s brutally honest conscience that Jane unfortunately doesn’t always listen to.

Some would say that romantic comedies as a genre are flawed by their predictability and their unrealistic endings. But screenplay writer Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) is successful in providing enough twists and unexpected events throughout to avoid the trap of being completely predictable.

There are still moments that are a little unrealistic and coincidental, such as Jane and Kevin’s meeting happening around the same time as Jane’s sister and boss getting engaged. But these moments can be overlooked for the better qualities of the film, such as great casting, well-developed characters and hilarious and touching moments.

So get your girlfriends together, put on your least vomit-inducing bridesmaid dresses, and head to the movies for a good laugh.

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