A formulaic follow-up from the writer of the enjoyable "Devil Wears Prada", "27 Dresses" stars Katherine Heigl ("Grey's Anatomy") as Jane, a young woman who has grown up loving weddings. As an adult, her planner is full of various weddings for people she knows, where she serves as bridesmaid and helps out as "planner" for a hobby. If she loves weddings so much, why doesn't she work as a wedding planner, you know, like in that movie..."Wedding Planner".
Of course, she spends all her days trying to make other people happy on their big day, but she never tries to make herself happy. By night, she's going from wedding-to-wedding, even changing in the cab (a bizarre scene, as I could only wonder, isn't there a bathroom where she's going where she could have changed?) By day, she works as an assistant to an exec named George (Ed Burns) who she's been in love with from afar.
In steps her shallow, self-obsessed little sister, Tess (Malin Akerman, who looks and sounds almost eerily like a younger Cameron Diaz), who George quickly falls for and then proposes to. However, there's problems: Tess hasn't exactly been honest about who she is and Jane isn't pleased that the next wedding she'll be helping is for the guy she's loved and someone who hasn't told him the kind of person she really is.
Meanwhile, Jane's being persued by Kevin (James Marsden), a cynical writer at the wedding section of the New York Journal who's both interested in her skills as a bridesmaid for an article (she's been one 27 times and has kept all the dresses, hence the title) and her in general. The two don't see eye-to-eye on much and their personalities clash so much that...of course, they'll fall for one another as the movie goes on. The movie's last quarter tries to force a happy ending and while that doesn't sink the film, it's just another example of a comfort mood movie that seems almost uncomfortable stepping outside the lines of its formula. While the movie never completely wears out its welcome, a couple of minutes of trims here-and-there could have picked up the pace.
"27 Dresses" does have an appealing set of leads, which does help material that, although not terrible, does veer into sitcom territory fairly often. While I'm not a big fan of Heigl, I do appreciate that she brings a certain personality to her roles, and while this performance could have been cutesy, I liked that she made the character a little bitter. The film seems set-up to be an easy, appealing showcase for Heigl and she does pretty well with the material.
As for supporting efforts, Marsden seems to be having fun in the role and Burns seems to be pleased that he can again play what appears to be another version of himself and get paid enough to finance probably a half-dozen of his low-budget independent directorial efforts. The best thing in the movie is Judy Greer, who has a few moments of brilliance as Jane's sarcastic friend. There's a wordless scene from Grier where she realizes from across the room why Jane is upset that is one of the funniest things I've seen in quite a while.
Overall, "27 Dresses" is one of those movies that I didn't love and didn't hate - a summary of my feelings about it would be a shrug. The cast generally gives above-average efforts, but the material itself isn't very engaging, remaining predictable and rather vanilla.
VIDEO: "27 Dresses" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 2.35:1 (1080P/AVC) on Blu-Ray. The presentation certainly isn't the kind of effort that will result in this being the Blu-Ray demo disc that home theatre fans reach for, but it is fine considering the material. Sharpness and detail certainly are very good (for the most part) but never reach the kind of remarkable levels that the format is capable of producing, with fine details that aren't as crystal clear as one might hope. The streets of New York City look terrific and I spent a fair amount of time checking out various city locations in the film as they went by.
The presentation didn't suffer from any edge enhancement or print flaws, but a little bit of noise was occasionally seen. Colors looked natural, with nice saturation and no smearing. Flesh tones also generally appeared spot-on. Overall, the presentation wasn't dazzling, but remained satisfactory.
SOUND: The film is presented with a DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio presentation. The film's sound design is a basic, dialogue-driven comedy mix, with little in the way of surround activity. Audio quality was fine, with a crisp score and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: "Running of the Brides" focuses on the famed Filene's Basement sale where they put up extremely expensive bridal gowns for rock bottom prices. There's a stampede as the racks are stripped of whatever merchandise is on them and even some trading as women swap potential purchases. "You'll Never Wear That Again" looks at the film's costume design and "Jane's World" looks at locations and set design. "The Wedding Party" runs about 15 minutes and is the usual EPK promotional "making of" piece. Finally, we get a trio of deleted scenes w/no optional commentary. One scene is a minor snippet, while the other two feature more of Ackerman's character.
Final Thoughts: "27 Dresses" managed to be watchable thanks to the cast, but the film's screenplay sticks to the romantic comedy basics and remains predictable. The Blu-Ray edition offers fine video quality and decent audio quality, as well as a few minor extras. Rent it.
The Film C+