27 Dresses (2018) - Review

by - June 18, 2019

Synopsis: After serving as a bridesmaid 27 times, a young woman wrestles with the idea of standing by her sister's side as her sibling marries the man she's secretly in love with.

Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. In 27 Dresses, that's essentially the life of altruistic Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl), a romantic who has found herself a bridesmaid in 27 different weddings while harboring an unrequited crush on her boss, George (Edward Burns).

At times it comes across as if Jane is more the wedding planner than a bridesmaid as so many people depend on her to keep their special day running smoothly. See, Jane has a problem with telling people "no". Not only to her friends but to George and her younger sister, Tess (Malin Akerman), who has recently returned home Europe and quickly captures George's heart.

Jane bites her tongue throughout the whirlwind romance, watching as Tess lies and manipulates George into believing she is his dream girl. When George proposes to Tess, it seems like Jane will soon be adding a 28th bridesmaid dress to her overstuffed closet. See, she's too sentimental to toss the hideous creations away, or "shorten it and wear again" as every bride has told her to do.

She's not thrilled about essentially becoming Tess's wedding planner, and things are made worse when she is thrown into close proximity with Kevin Doyle (James Marsden), a handsome but cynical reporter for the local newspaper who writes the Commitments section. He's already intrigued by Jane, having watched her race between two weddings on Saturday night, and he's assigned to cover Tess and George's upcoming nuptials. He weaves true tales of everlasting love, but he doesn't believe in any of it. Kevin is of the mind that people don't get married for the marriage, they get married for the wedding, and this is where he and Jane butt heads.

But when Kevin finds Jane's yearly planner stuffed with wedding plans for all of her friends, he realizes that there might be a story there, one that could potentially get him a promotion. So Kevin uses the material he gains from Tess and George's article to create a piece on Jane's situation. Think Runaway Bride, but instead, it's Perpetual Bridesmaid.

Every step of 27 Dresses is a predictable one, but I found I didn't mind it as I do so many other romantic comedies. We get a drunken bar sing-a-long to Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets, and a fantastic montage of Jane trying on all of her hideous dresses for Kevin. Having been a bridesmaid in a few weddings myself, I’m thankful never to have had to wear even one monstrosity. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the piles of taffeta and silk flying about in this movie. To be honest, I kind of regret not having a theme-wedding myself and shoving my friends into hoop skirts with ruffles and bonnets.

That being said, Katherine Heigl is what made the movie work for me. She is engaging as Jane, a character who could have so easily been a downtrodden doormat, but Heigl gives Jane a witty edge that is sorely needed when everyone around her takes advantage of her good nature. James Marsden is an appealing leading man, the hunky cynic to Heigl’s sentimental Jane.

They weren't overflowing in the chemistry department, but there was just enough spark there to keep me invested and I enjoyed their banter. The problem is, I don't think there was enough of it. 27 Dresses really shines when Jane and Kevin are together, but the movie focuses far too much on Jane, Tess, and George, who unfortunately fits the role of the handsome but dull secondary love interest far too perfectly. That particular love triangle brings the movie down because other than having plenty of money and being played by Edward Burns, I couldn't figure out what Jane saw in George at all.

Judy Greer shows up intermittently as Jane's friend Casey and I would have loved to have seen more of her throughout the film. Greer has a tendency to play the quirky friend in these romantic comedies, and personally, I find she elevates even the most boring of them. Sadly, she's underused here except when she needs to step in and give Jane advice.

I completely understand the annoyance with wedding-themed romantic comedies, where the heroines are made out to be ravenous for love and marriage and nothing more. Some could even argue that 27 Dresses fits that mold, but at the same time, I think the movie proves that women are allowed to be romantics, they're allowed to want love, and they're capable of enjoying weddings without turning into shrieking, toxic harpies if one thing doesn't go their way (I'm looking at you, Bride Wars.).

I certainly don't think 27 Dresses is as bad as so many critics tend to think. It lacks originality, sure, but it's still a frothy, lively rom-com that is both funny and sweet thanks to Heigl. There’s also rumblings of a potential sequel, which to be honest, I would probably really enjoy.

27 Dresses is not a great movie, but it’s certainly the right kind of movie to watch on a lazy Sunday where you don’t want to have to invest too much brain power into anything.

Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Judy Greer
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Rated: PG-13
Watched: 06.17.2019
Fun Facts:
- While Jane and Kevin are in the bar, a Josh Kelley song can be heard in the background. In real life, Josh Kelley is married to Katherine Heigl.
- The movie was inspired by the friend of screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who McKenna says was in 12 weddings by the time she was thirty.
- Movie execs wanted Jane to be more like the Sex and the City women, but McKenna claims the movie is supposed to be about that "all purpose friend who drives you to the airport".
Notable Song: Bennie and the Jets by Elton John

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  1. Oh I never saw that one! I will probably check it out if it's ever on Netfllix. I love Judy Greer it was fun seeing her in big role in new Halloween flick last year

    1. I *love* Judy Greer and she always seems to pop up in rom-coms as the best friend. But she's so funny, I wish there had been more of her in this!

  2. I would definitely watch this for Katherine Heigl, she's ace. I avoided any wedding-related movies after planning my own wedding, I was all wedding-ed out, but as that was 3 years ago now I think it's time to move on, ha!

    1. I hear you! Thankfully the wedding planning process in this movie is sort of secondary to everything else.

  3. I haven't seen this film in years but I've seen (too) many times and I loved it each one of them. Sure, it's predictable and all that but Heigl is such a good lead. Nice review! And I'm glad you liked it.

    1. My husband insisted I saw this with him when it came out but I could not remember it at *all*. But I really did enjoy it! I wouldn't mind a sequel. :D

  4. I saw this when I was much younger, so I don't remember much, but I love anything James Marsden is in.
    When it comes to rom-coms with wedding themes, I prefer My Best Friend's Wedding

    1. I really love My Best Friend's Wedding! Maybe because the ending was a somewhat unconventional one for a rom-com :) I really need to rewatch it soon.

  5. You know, surprisingly, this is a good film for me. Not gonna lie, it has some awful rom-com clichés but they work and I'm not mad at it. I think I've seen it more times than 5... and I will watch it again and I'll enjoy it again. It's that good. Which is a rare thing for me to say because I've been very picky with romcoms in my later life.

    1. I never mind the rom com cliches as long as they don't feel lazy, like just a means to get the story to move along. And they work in 27 Dresses which is probably why I enjoyed it as much as I did.


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