Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Edward Burns, Malin Akerman, Judy Greer
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
20th Century Fox
The Official Site of 27 Dresses
At a glance, hell even at a hard stare, 27 Dresses is a movie ripped form the daydreams of little girls everywhere. For every girl that has imagined that perfect wedding, and hasn’t yet gotten it or realized that no wedding is without its late flower deliveries or uppity in-laws, 27 Dresses plays to that fantasy. As a dude I never really experienced this, but still would like to think I could appreciate it. I’ve often dreamed of the perfect sandwich or the perfect action sequence, but nothing as monumental as the perfect wedding.
Growing up it wasn’t really a concern. By the time I started noticing girls most of them were moving past this phase of womanhood. Plus, I’ve always been more attracted to bad girls. In fact every woman I’ve ever been halfway serious about has said at one point or another that they never wanted to get married. Even the one I ended up marrying. I don’t know for sure, but I’d wager that the majority of my flirtations past have ended up taking that long walk down the isle, and I’m not pointing it out as a slight against the decisions they made as young women, but more as a testimony to the power of love.
Ideally that hopeless romantic, or that 13-year-old girl daydreaming about white doves and First Corinthians, is alive in all of us. That came out creepy but it comes from a good place. Ok, that sounded creepy too – I’m just trying to say that if we were all 13-year-old girls the world would be a better place! ...errr…moving on…
Katherine Heigl’s character Jane is that 13-year-old girl. That eternal romantic that lives for weddings, pines quietly after prince charming and reads the Commitments column every Sunday. She can plan the perfect wedding in her sleep and has done so 27 times, not as some sort of insatiable black widow or Mormon, but as a bride’s maid. She’s always a bride’s maid and never a bride. (And let me get this out of the way now - it’s more likely than not that at some point “Always a Bride’s Maid, Never a Bride” was the title of this movie, and I’m so glad they came up with something more clever and noteworthy in the end. For a movie that hits every cliché in the Rom-Com catalogue, it’s nice to know they came up with something unique for that oh so important first impression. Because, honestly, if it was called something like “Always a Bride’s Maid, Never a Bride” or even “Bride’s Maid” (scroll down to the trailer section for my obligatory eye roll) the movie would have been dead on arrival.)
Though she always dreams of her own big day, Jane is more than happy to plan, participate and celebrate in all the weddings she attends. And her contentment goes on just fine until her baby sister rolls into town and catches the eye of Jane’s prince charming. Before she can say “get your own!” Jane finds herself planning the wedding of her sister to the man of her dreams.
I won’t go too much further into the plot only to say that, you probably know how things go down. That’s how formulaic 27 dresses is. It follows the rules emotionally and comedic to line up perfectly with any Romantic Comedy classic you’ve ever encountered. In fact, if you lined up Dresses with something like Pretty Woman, I bet they’d hit the same key moments at the same time. Right down from the first kiss to the musical montage to the dramatic confrontation, 27 Dresses is a by-the-books genre film.
Even the casting is a gathering of romantic comedy standards. Ed Burns as Mr. Perfect, who might not be so perfect, Malin Akerman as the beautiful distraction, and the cherry on the sundae, Judy Greer as the sassy best friend! The whole gangs here!
It’s the addition of James Marsden as the wedding-hating writer that suddenly got me to pay attention to a movie that starts off just going through the motions. Not because his character is so original in the romantic comedy setting (it’s not) but because of what he does with it. First let me say, it’s nice to see Marsden break his “other guy” status. For years, in almost every variety of film, he’s played the guy who loses the girl. Finally it’s his time to be on the good end of that exchange and really shine as a leading man. He’s natural and charming and yes – terribly good looking – and if the movie does well this will be his first step towards true A-list status. Because between 27 Dresses and last winter’s Enchanted, Mr. Romantic Comedy deserves his time in the spotlight.
With Heigl, The wedding lover and the wedding hater make a perfect pair. It’s the chemistry of these two leads that really stands out. It saved this movie from being anonymous, because you can tell they’re really having fun. Even when they hate each other the dialogue is natural, the characters are genuine and the result is a real experience with real laughs. These performances together really made the film for me.
Like the best romantic comedies of all time, 27 Dresses works not because it’s a carbon copy, but because the people up front actually know what they’re doing. The supporting cast is formulaic for one reason. They’re good at it. When you want the job done right you hire a pro, and no one does cheeky sidekick like Judy Greer. And I think Heigl and Marsden are now well on their way to joining that list of standards. That list of pros you call on to make sure that your movie works. If only it were so easy, but even our best American Sweethearts have had misses. Not even Julia Roberts can make you feel like a 13-year-old girl every time out of the gate. Annnnnnnd we’re back to creepy.
Rating: 7 out of 10 - I was kind of bummed out that I had to see this movie alone. Not only is it kind of creepy for a grown man to see a romantic comedy by himself, but I thought forced companionship was part of the deal with marriage. I’ve been to enough candle stores to earn one trip to the movies. A movie she’s bound to like!
I can’t blame her for not wanting to come though. The promotion for 27 Dresses isn’t exactly strong. It looks every bit as cliché as the movie actually is, but it doesn’t really do justice to the tone and performances that save the film. There's such a tendency to slip into corny gags and fake characters, but through great chemistry and genuine fun, the movie ended up being pretty damn good. That’s something the previews don’t begin to touch upon.
So, good luck dragging your loved one to this movie. Tell them that I said it’s not as bad as it appears to be. Then when they ask who I am just lie and say I’m actually a credible film critic. The whole “loves crappy movies” thing often does away with my integrity pretty quickly.
If I were to recommend a DVD purchase to someone who actively buys romantic comedies, this is one I would suggest with no hesitation. Chemistry this strong between two romantic leads is more rare than you’d think, and even though the movie manages to hit every tried and true romance cliché in the book, it does so with charm and sincere laughter. Even though a second time through you’ll know who ends up with who and everyone they kiss on the way there, 27 Dresses seems like the kind of event that would be just as much fun the second time around. So while it’s not a movie I’ll be adding to my library, all you romantic suckers (you know who you are) should definitely check it out.
Knocked Up - You know… I keep comparing 27 Dresses to Knocked Up because of Heigl’s involvement in both films and (brace yourself) in a lot of ways I was more impressed with 27 Dresses.
Knocked Up is supposed to be funny. It’s supposed to knock you out of your seat clutching your belly. As a result, every laugh out loud moment is only 1 of 20 that the movie is “supposed” to have to be considered even halfway decent. But with Dresses, you never expect to laugh that hard, so every laugh out loud moment is a victory! An unexpected bonus that didn’t have to be there, but you’re sure as hell glad showed up.
I felt like the humor in 27 Dresses felt real. I was laughing at their interaction that didn’t depend on using the F-word or random references to Munich. They didn’t need to have 5 guys talking about the unintentional exchange of pink eye to get a rise out of me. But comparing the humor isn’t fair. While I was probably reacting just as often in both movies, I laughed much harder with Knocked Up, and the emotion in that movie gets a lot more serious than 27 Dresses ever manages to. At the same time, 27 Dresses feels more balanced form start to finish. When I remember Knocked up it’s not the Doc Brown reference that stands out, it’s the slow moments where I was waiting for something significant. I never had to wait to be interested in 27 Dresses.
While I’d rather not even mention it, Heigl’s Vanity Fair interview where she called Knocked up “a little sexist” has become a focal point of her involvement in the film. I admit that I was a little put off by it, but this article clarifies a few things that mainstream media was less anxious to share.
It’s true – I did miss the Giants/Cowboys playoff game to see a sneak preview of 27 Dresses. As an Eagles fan, it wasn’t too hard to pass up. Watching two division rivals battle to lose against the Packers, 5 weeks after my team was already out of the running didn’t sound like an exciting Sunday afternoon. Even as a New Yorker, it’s hard to get too excited about a game where neither team really has a shot against the other teams in the playoffs. Just give the Patriots their damn rings already…
So I came up with this joke that afternoon and whipped it up. Then on Monday I delivered the set up to Irv and sure enough… He throws the punch line back at me without me. That could be good or bad. You don’t want a joke to be too obvious but at the same time, Irv and Steven (the guy featured in the comic today) use this popular 40-Year-Old Virgin often enough. So for Irv to see where I was going with it was somewhat satisfying, if only because it’s true to life.
Made of Honor - Terrible title. Even if they did change the spelling of “maid” to “made” I’m on board as saying, “lame”. I mean I realize this is just a random romantic comedy but if it’s going to work at all, can’t it at least have a snappy title? Patrick Dempsey can’t be dreamy enough to save every movie!
My first reaction to this trailer is, “blah”. My Best Friend’s Wedding in reverse. That’s not really something to get excited about even if Michelle Monaghan (MI:III, Gone Baby Gone, (The Heartbreak Kid, (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ) is the object of affection. What turned it around for me was the guy filling the Cameron Diaz slot. Kevin McKidd.
A lot of you might know him from his character on Rome but for me – he’s the Journeyman. If you
Re not familer, Journeyman is the most entertaining new drama on TV. Like a modern day Quantum Leap the show explores time travel and basic human decency. It’s fantastic and ever since episode 2 I’ve been pro-McKidd. So as soon as he pops up in the trailer for Made of Honor, I’m immediately interested. Will he save the movie? – I doubt it, but maybe his NBC counterpart will travel back in time to save it for us.
Well that’s a lot to take in. Especially for a romantic comedy. I’m thankful for everyone that took time to read through it. I hope you find it useful. But it’s now behind us.
If you’re having a slow day and you actually read through all of that to waste time, I have a couple of other excellent time wasters to push on you including two other strips that I updated today. The first is something I’ve been trumpeting in the last few posts – the return of Turtle vs. Bunny. It’s only 1 strip and a title page underway but with a MWF schedule, it’ll be developing quickly. Don’t be left behind!
The second is Matriculated, a college themed strip that I do with fellow Pimp Phil Chan. It’s not something I promote here enough, even if there are links all over the place for it, but there was a fresh strip today (as there is every Wednesday) and I think it’s a big moment for one of the long running supporting characters. To hop on at the beginning of the storyline follow this link, and enjoy. Matriculated is a fun strip to work on and I think it reads great in large doses.
Speaking of big doses… are you guys reading Weird Adventures in Unemployment. The workplace monster comic has been developing beautifully since its launch a couple months ago. Treat yourself to an afternoon of solid webcomicing won’t you?
Ok, that’s it, but I’ll be back soon. Thanks for reading, gang!
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Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - The Introduction
Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.
First Appearance - Fever Pitch
Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.
First Appearance - V for Vendetta
Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison
Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.
First Appearance - 300
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe
Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.
First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet
Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.
First Appearance - Four Brothers
Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.
First Appearance - Ultraviolet
Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.
First Appearance - The Producers
Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!
Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?
First Appearance - Saw IV
Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V