Katherine Heigl, star of the hit hospital dramedy Grey’s Anatomy and last summer’s blockbuster comedy Knocked Up may be the new Meg Ryan, or possibly even Julia Roberts for the next generation. She’s beautiful, likeable and has a knack for romantic comedy. Too bad then that 27 Dresses, the story of a young woman doomed to be a bridesmaid forever, is none of those things.
Heigl stars as Jane, an eager-to-please assistant to the world’s most perfect boss (Ed Burns). She’s secretly in love with him, but is too insecure to allow her private feelings to become public. When we meet her she’s shuttling between two weddings on the same night, changing in the cab as she zips between the two ceremonies. It’s a pretty good scene, one with some energy and good comic possibilities.
When she hires the cab she offers $300 for the night provided he doesn’t peek while she is changing. At the end of the night she gives him $120 and says, “You know what you did.” Funny stuff, and well played by Heigl and the cabdriver (Michael Ziegfeld) who both make the most of the slapstick possibilities of the sequence. From there on in, however, it’s mostly like the rubber chicken served at most weddings—you know what it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t quite taste right.
The story, such that it is, involves terminal bridesmaid Jane, who has stood up for 27 of her friends, having to arrange the quickie wedding between her model sister and her boss, the man she secretly loves. Things get more complicated when the New York Journal sends the dashingly handsome Malcolm Doyle (James Marsden) to cover the wedding for their Commitments page. Sparks don’t immediately fly between Jane and the cynical reporter, but somehow you just know that they will eventually work out their differences.
The trouble doesn’t lie with Heigl, she’s trying her best with a script that is duller than most wedding speeches. Penned by the same screenwriter as The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses has none of that movie’s biting wit or clever plotting. Even the workplace scenes—certainly the greatest pleasure of Prada—aren’t particularly interesting, save for Judy Greer as Jane’s caustic friend and co-worker Casey.
27 Weddings isn’t so much a movie as it is a premise, a one line story pitch—with the odd funny line: “I feel like I just found out my favorite love song was written about a sandwich,” Heigl says about one of life’s disappointments—that really needed more thought before becoming a full length movie.