DVD Release Date:  April 29, 2008
Theatrical Release Date:  January 18, 2008
Rating:  PG-13 (contains foul language and sex scenes)
Genre:  Comedy, Drama
Run Time:  105 minutes
Director:  David Frankel
Actors:  Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Judy Greer, Maline Akerman, Edward Burns, Brian Kerwin, Charli Barcena, Peyton List, Jane Pfitsch, Alexa Gerasimovich, Yetta Gottesman

“Always a bridesmaid; never a bride.”  There are few themes that strike a chord more with women than this angst so many have felt. 

The romantic comedy 27 Dresses fully plays on that fear of every woman who’s single, and the moviemakers weave a humorous tale that explores love triangles, co-dependency and the hard work it takes to arrive at inner truth.  Regrettably, this adorable chick-flick is marred by the needless inclusion of rude language and sex.

The story begins with young Jane (Peyton List), who not only helps her father take care of her little sister, young Tess (Charli Barcena), since her mom has died, but also lives for weddings and helping others feel great about their special day.  Over the years, grown-up Jane (Katherine Heigl) becomes so enthralled with weddings that she cuts out the engagement articles in the city’s newspaper, cleverly and super-romantically written by a guy whose work she follows religiously.

Not only does Jane pore over engagement articles and wedding announcements, but almost every weekend she serves as a bridesmaid for one of her many friends.  One night she even double books herself and has to hire a taxi driver to shuttle her back and forth between the reception parties!  (She pays the driver $300 for the evening, which includes a vow not to watch her changing clothes in the back seat.)

Jane is not just a bridesmaid either.  She’s a super-bridesmaid on steroids!  She throws showers, helps pick wedding locations, china, florists and cake designers, and she’s completely adept at wheeling and dealing on prices.  Jane is a total wedding expert.

At the office, she has a huge crush on her boss, George (Edward Burns), and she believes her infatuation is a big secret until her best friend, Casey (Judy Greer) assures her that the whole office knows about it.  With a reputation for loose sexual exploits and heavy partying, Casey also tells Jane that she’s living in a fantasy world and really needs to make a change—preferably by joining her in the carousing. 

Jane’s life does take an abrupt turn when her sister, the now gorgeous and grown Tess (Maline Akerman), comes to visit.  When Tess joins Jane at the company party, the unthinkable happens—romance blossoms between Tess and George!  Ever the accommodating, selfless soul, Jane doesn’t dare express her heart's desire.

True feelings erupt, however volatile, when Jane meets Kevin (James Marsden), the wedding writer she’s idolized forever, and finds out that he doesn’t truly feel all the romantic things he writes about … that he’s a cynic!  Jane sets about angrily trying to ditch the pursing Kevin, while having to fake a smile and help her sister move forward romantically with the man she herself loves.  Or does she?  Perhaps “heaven” has a totally different plan, which Jane will only discover if she’s willing to change.

A cute chick-flick, 27 Dresses not only plays on relatable girl themes, but it weaves a cute romantic story and introduces perfect perils designed to bring “issues” to the surface for healing. The production value is high, the directing is good, the varied wedding scenes are hilarious and the acting is commendable.  It’s fun to see the handsome James Marsden again after he just charmed us in Enchanted, and Katherine Heigl is the perfectly-cast Jane in this movie.  The couple has a laugh-out-loud funny scene at one point, where they’re trying to figure out and sing the words to Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” at a karaoke bar.

Regrettably, as with so many Hollywood offerings, the movie portrays needless foul language and sex scenes (though veiled).  There’s a subtle message that it’s okay to jump in bed with guys as long as you really don’t do that as a general rule.

Disloyalty, dishonesty, and lack of realness are rebuked in the end, and there are some redemptive elements in 27 Dresses. But parents should exercise caution in sending teens to this movie because of its worldview issues.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Alcohol depicted several times.
  • Language:  Several obscenities (over a dozen), mostly mild.
  • Sex:  Several portrayals of sexual encounters, though nothing explicitly shown.  One character is sleazy and makes several sexual references (“Come on over… The guys from the warehouse are bringing tequila and bubble wrap. …”).
  • Violence:  None.
  • Film's Worldview:  It’s fine to sleep around, as long as it’s not a regular practice.