Wedding Crapper: Rom Com Coffin Gets Another Nail

Maui Time | January 11, 2008
Wedding Crapper

Rom Com Coffin Gets Another Nail

27 Dresses (One Star) (636 words)

By Cole Smithey

Agonizing, flaccid, and about as romantic as bottle of flat champagne “27 Dresses” is a perfect example of the stereotypical Hollywood romantic comedies that Judd Apatow’s “40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” successfully disemboweled. So it’s sadly ironic that Katherine Heigl, the preggers chic in “Knocked Up,” should show up in such an inferior showcase for her talents. Heigl plays Jane Nichols a young Manhattanite doomed to be always a bridesmaid and never a bride. Now there’s a novel idea for a movie. Cough. Jane’s favorite activities revolve around reading the “commitments” section of the newspaper to drool over the wedding ceremonies of lucky couples when she isn’t adding to her collection of bridesmaid dresses—guess how many—from gauche theme weddings that are barf-inducing for their tackiness. The girl who wants what she doesn’t want has to learn the hard way that the man she has a crush on—her boss George (Edward Burns)—is a dimwit, after he falls head over heels for Jane’s bimbo sister Tess (Malin Akerman). And yes, there is a mandatory montage in which Jane models all 27 dresses. Yawn.

If the insipid dress-changing sequence weren’t insufferable enough to curdle the stomach of every male in the audience, the filmmakers step in cliché poop again when they subject viewers to one of the most tormenting sing-along scenes in cinema history. Inebriated Jane and her also-drunk boy-pal Kevin (James Marsden) dance on top of a bar while belting out Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” along with the jukebox to the feigned approval of cast extras that can hardly hide their disgust at the embarrassing display. Note to screenwriters young and old: no sing-alongs—ever.

In the process of doing dual bridesmaid duty for two weddings on a Saturday night, busybody Jane forgets her day-planner in the back of a taxi with Kevin, a cynical journalist she’s only just met. Unbeknownst to Jane, Kevin is the author of her favorite wedding column. He capitalizes on the opportunity her lost diary presents to pitch a story about Jane’s wedding obsession to his editor.

While Kevin stalks Jane like a smitten lover with an ulterior motive, she watches her ditzy sister Tess pretend to love dogs, hiking and vegetarianism in order to win over George, the outdoorsy clothing store entrepreneur that Jane serves as his personal assistant. Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”) sabotages even the script’s old-lady-friendly tone with Jane’s bawdy co-worker Casey (Judy Greer), whose job it is to inject crude humor, ostensibly to keep audiences awake between the death knell plot lulls that occur at regular intervals.

From Shepherd Frankel’s cookie cutter production design to Catherine Marie Thomas’ atrocious costumes, “27 Dresses” is a comedy without the necessary visual style, tempo or chemistry to compensate for the script’s tone deaf sense of humor. Sophisticated romantic comedies are the province of French cinema. The worst French rom com looks like a masterpiece compared to a picture like “27 Dresses.” Hollywood has been stuck too long churning out perfunctory wedding cake movies that are predictable for their bogus characters and retreaded gags. Judd Apatow and newcomer Diablo Cody (“Juno”) are invigorating the genre with a precision that takes note of shifting cultural identities. These are vital filmmakers with a sense of the romantic condition of lust, desire, and trial and error. At heart, Jane Nichols is a narcissist and exhibitionist who loves spectacle. She doesn’t know the first thing about intimacy or carnality. There’s a name for people who get on top of bars and sing with the jukebox at the top of their lungs; we call them idiots, and let the bouncer do his job.

Rated PG-13, 107 mins. (D)


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