Bridesmaid Heigl Is a Stitch in '27 Dresses'

"27 Dresses" is like one of the many bridesmaid dresses featured in the film: frothy, predictable and over the top.

It's an uninspired romantic comedy that adheres slavishly to the conventions of the genre. But the movie is made pleasant by the likeability of its star, Katherine Heigl, and her chemistry with the affable James Marsden.

Certainly Heigl fares better in less formulaic fare, such as Judd Apatow's irreverent "Knocked Up," but she does raise the level of this chick flick from bland to mildly entertaining.

Heigl plays Jane, a woman focused on taking care of everyone but herself. With her blond hair dyed brown, she's meant to be sort of a plain Jane here, but it's a tough one for the "Grey's Anatomy" heartbreaker to pull off. In any event, Jane has been a bridesmaid 27 times and saved all the puffy dresses to prove it. When not at weddings and attending to the needs of her various bridally oriented friends, Jane spends her time nursing an unrequited crush on her boss George (Edward Burns).

When her blond and bubbly sister Tess (Malin Akerman) comes to visit, she instantly catches George's attention. Jane must do more than sit by and watch as Tess and George's romance blossoms quickly and they make plans to marry. Not only is she expected to cheerlead their union, but Tess expects her accommodating older sister to plan her wedding.

Meanwhile, Kevin, a reporter (Marsden), sees Jane shuttling between a wedding in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn and decides to write a feature about this die-hard serial bridesmaid. He writes short items on nuptials for The New York Times, and Jane, perhaps the biggest fan of the wedding ceremony ever seen on film, is an admirer of his sentimental turns of phrase.

"27 Dresses" is noteworthy for its retro theme, which focuses on Jane's perennial also-ran status, as in "always a bridesmaid, never a bride." It's an oddly antiquated concept for a contemporary movie. But at least she doesn't obsess about not being married.

Rather, Jane is all about helping others and admires the emotional idealism, as well as the pomp and circumstance, of weddings. She can't quite understand why others don't share her enthusiasm. Kevin plays the cynic who doesn't get what all the fuss over matrimony is about. So, doing the romantic comedy math, this means they must get together. Opposites attract and all that. Perhaps the only surprise is the role that their inebriated singalong of Elton John's Bennie and the Jets plays in their romance.

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