27 Dresses


Hello! In a farewell tour of my ex-boyfriend’s HBO Go password, I have been trying to watch all the movies I want to see on that glorious site. So far it has been: Finding Forrester, Kiss the Girls, half of Problem Child 2, Gia, Unfriended and 27 Dresses. I started writing a review of Finding Forrester but couldn’t finish it because I had nothing snarky to say. Kiss the Girls was lackluster and just a poor man’s Red Dragon. Gia was and has been always wonderful, Unfriended was scary to me I don’t care if you agree, and Problem Child 2 didn’t hold up like I thought it would, although I’m sure Problem Child is still great.

27 Dresses I thought I had seen and then just realized most Katherine Heigl movies look the same (sorry Katherine!) but I actually really liked it mostly which surprised me. A lot of romantic comedies (even from just 10 years ago) DO NOT hold up to recent social revelations about gender norms and latent sexism. So I was definitely very apprehensive about this movie about a girl who is always a bridesmaid but looking for love!!! But it was nice and I liked it okay!!

So, Katherine Heigl plays Jane (good lord) who is an all-around martyr for everyone, but especially her younger sister Tess played by Malin Ackerman (when I was talking to my boyfriend about this movie I was like, “you know the younger Slik Spectre in Watchmen?” and he was like, “I don’t really remember that role” and I was like, “Malin Akerman” and then his tongue unrolled slowly until it fell out of his mouth and he was like, “Oh, yes”).

Jane has been in love with her do-gooder hot philanthropist boss George (Edward Burns) since she started working at his company (they never get around to saying what the company does-but it’s very good apparently) however many years ago. This had been fine as a calm pattern of uninterrupted masochism for Jane until Tess comes to town and meets George at a work party. Proverbial sparks fly (maybe just reflections from the sequins on Tess’ dress) and they start a whirlwind romance that culminates in an engagement a ridiculously short amount of time later.

Jane is upset, but bites her tongue because she doesn’t think her feelings are valid. Another piece in this wedding comedy puzzle is James Marsden, who plays Kevin/Malcom (his nom de plum) who is in love with Jane and also is the “Commitments” (wedding announcements) writer for the New York Journal. She doesn’t know it’s him because he has a different name and she is repulsed by him (he’s an attractive man who is really nice to her & likes her, why wouldn’t she be repulsed??) but then when he’s assigned to cover George & Tess’ wedding, she finds out and is verifiably flummoxed.

So, things kind of continue on with Jane planning her sister’s wedding to the man she’s in love with herself, and Kevin secretly writing an article about Jane (there’s always a secret article!!!). In one of my least favorite scenes in the movie Jane and Kevin are driving and she’s mad while it’s raining and he keeps telling her to slow down (men, always the rational voice!) but she won’t (women, emotional and crazy!!) and they hydroplane and crash. Then because no towing company will get them at this time of night (really? in New York? I’m pretty sure you could get a chihuahua haircut at 3 am let alone a tow) they go to a bar and do shots (but only after she’s expressly like, “Only one!!!” because women are buttoned up and high strung until they have a man to show them how to let loose!) and sing Benny and the Jets for the whole bar? Which is a bonding moment and they make out then have sex in the car.

But then the next morning in a diner over some toast and eggs (I’m hungry), Jane gets recognized for being “that girl from the paper” and uh-oh! The secret article came out over the weekend and now it’s bad. So she leaves him somehow (even though the one car they shared is still stuck in mud at the bottom of a hill) and tries to continue doing wedding stuff.

Which works for a while and there’s just a series of compromises Jane has made where Tess does something that hurts her deeply but we see her swallow & get over it, UNTIL Tess cuts up her mother’s wedding dress. Jane loves her mom’s dress and Tess kind of thought it was ugly, then when Tess got engaged their dad gave it to her to wear and Jane was upset but got over it but then Tess cut it up to put pieces on a different dress and this was apparently the last straw for Jane. So she called Tess a bitch and told her that she needed to come clean with George about who she really was. And it wasn’t anything interesting like a secret spy, she had just lied about liking animals and being a vegetarian and a good person so he would fall in love with her. Tess was like, “no” and so Jane had no choice but to make a scathing slideshow which she showed to the entire wedding party during the Maid of Honor speech. George called the wedding off, Tess left in tears, and Kevin showed up to apologize to Jane and give her a Blackberry because apparently in 2008  that was the epitome of a romantic gesture.

Jane storms off and is alone and sad until the next night when she throws away all of her Bridesmaid dresses (that’s what Kevin’s article was about and he took pictures of her wearing all of them) and gets a call from George to be his date for some work function.

She gets over there and he’s like, “Wow you’re beautiful I hadn’t noticed every day for the last 5 years” and she’s like “Lol. Sorry about ruining your wedding” and he’s like, “No it’s good” then they kiss but neither of them likes it and she quits because he said he likes her because she, “Never says no,” which is rapey.

So she runs to find Kevin (because in a movie when you realize something, you have to let that person know RIGHT NOW) but he’s busy covering a boat wedding so she jumps from the pier to the boat and makes it just in the nick of time because the wedding was pulling out of the dock (they’re taking their love on the open sea!). Then the bride is like, “hey you’re that girl from the article! I care” and she let’s her do a heartfelt speech to Kevin during HER wedding and then they make out. (Kevin & Jane-I know too many pronouns).

Then there’s blank screen with a “One Year Later” headline and now we are at Kevin & Jane’s beach wedding and everyone is there and she has 27 bridesmaids and she makes them all wear the bridesmaid dresses she wore to their weddings. The End!

Overall I think I identified too much with Jane, I think the movie was like, “do you sacrifice for your friends and never get anything yourself?” and everyone everywhere was like, “Yes that’s me!” myself included. We all like to see ourselves as self-sacrificing good people who are overlooked I think. Anyway, it was one of those indulgent goods and there were some funny lines but now I can’t really remember them, but they were probably there.

James Marsden was good as “the good guy,” I think I like him as an actor based on the two things I’ve seen him in. It was kind of infuriating that Katherine Heigl was the “dumpy older sister” because she’s a leggy 6 foot tall blonde who everyone treated as homely in this movie?? So that was weird. Edward Burns was entreatingly unexpressive, just a masculine blank slate for all the women to project their romantic fantasies onto which felt really real. All the dogs in this movie did a great job, and (unrelated) I love Judy Greer. I loved her in Jawbreaker, I loved her in Arrested Development, I even loved her in What Women Want when she was suicidal. I just love her, she’s a great actress. Krysten Ritter plays a goth receptionist which is fun and Jonathan from 30 Rock (Maulik Pancholy) plays a one dimensional asshole which was a change.

Still definitely played into the trope of ‘every woman wants to get married and that’s what happiness is to them’ but until a radical feminist rom com comes out, this is just what we have to work with.

16 out of 27 Dresses, would probably masturbate again.

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