I'm not quite sure I'm the best person to review the Anne Fletcher comedy "27 Dresses." This is a motion picture that definitely falls in the social genre typically called a ‘Chick Flick.' Myself, I am a red blooded American male who loves a little violence, horror or loud explosions. "Waterworld" is more in line with what I call solid entertainment and I think "Pearl Harbor" could have been decent if anything remotely involved with the romantic subplots where neutered from the film. However, when you get down to brass tacks, I am a fan of cinema and while I prefer a little blood splatter over running mascara, I can appreciate a little comedy like "27 Dresses" that is intended to be light heartfelt fare. Sure, this is the type of film that I would never call up my friends and ask them to go see, but in the comfort of my own home or alongside a lovely young lady, "27 Dresses" isn't a bad way to pass an evening.
Written by Aline Brosh McKenna, "27 Dresses" is about a gorgeous young woman, Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) who has spent much of her adult life being madly in love with her boss George (Edward Burns). Jane is unable to find any romantic happiness for herself, but she has managed to be a bridesmaid for twenty seven other women's marriages. Her best friend Casey (Judy Greer) desperately wants Jane to grow a spine and tell George how she feels, but the opportunity is lost when Jane's younger sister Tess (Malin Akerman) comes to town and quickly gains the affections of George. George is not the only passion in Jane's life. She absolutely loves reading the marriage columns of a writer named Malcolm Doyle. Through a twist of fate, Jane meets Malcolm, whose real name is Kevin (James Marsden). However, she is less than impressed with Kevin as he tries to woo her and gain her affections.
I won't go any further into the plot and ruin the story for those that are looking forward to sitting down and watching "27 Dresses." As a teaser I'll only tell you that Jane finally gets to engage in a steamy and romantic kiss with George, but she finds herself perhaps having feelings for Kevin. Everybody in the film has a happy ending and "27 Dresses" is definitely a feel-good romantic comedy that doesn't leave any loose ends untied and allows everybody to find the love they have all been seeking from the time the opening credits began. The film is pretty light hearted and quite predictable. This has always been one of my main gripes about romantic comedies and while "27 Dresses" is guilty of this flaw, I found the ending to be original enough that I wasn't too dissuaded by the predictable turn of events that closed out the film. The viewer should and will know what happens before it does, but this is a movie where it is fun getting to the end.
Much of the allure of "27 Dresses" falls upon the lovely shoulders of Katherine Heigl. She was very good in one of last year's best comedies, "Knocked Up" and her star is rising. The knockout blonde has a wonderful sense of humor and is very comfortable with physical and dialogue-based comedy. She has the looks and the personality to become a leading lady and I can't see the twenty-nine year old actress spending too much more time as a resident on "Grey's Anatomy." While it can be said that a number of actresses could have taken the role of Jane and done quite well with it, I personally cannot imagine anybody else in the part after watching "27 Dresses." Heigl easily steps into each of the twenty seven bridesmaid dresses and brings beauty, intelligence and humor to the role.
The rest of the cast of "27 Dresses" are quite affable as well. Edward Burns has been flying under the radar for over a decade and found less success than other men of the 29th Infantry from "Saving Private Ryan." Burns is very nicely cast as George. Moviegoers may remember the lovely Swede Malin Akerman from her spicier role in the comedy "The Heartbreak Kid." She tones down the sexuality and the gross-out humor from that Farrelly Brothers comedy for a far better performance in "27 Dresses." I'm not sure how George could ever pick Tess over Jane, but Akerman gives a performance that almost makes George's decision seems sound. James Marsden is best known as Cyclops in the three "X-Men" films and I admittedly did not like him in those films, but I found Marsden to show a little funny bone and he handled himself nicely as a lead in a romantic comedy.
This is one of those films where I endanger my Man Card by outright recommending "27 Dresses." However, I found this to be a fun little romantic comedy that would be a wonderful selection for the female audience and is a film that isn't too hard to sit through if you are of the male sex and your significant other wants you to watch the film with her. It gets a little silly at times and you can debate the believability of Jane's ability to attend two weddings simultaneously as a bridesmaid, but I can tell you that "27 Dresses" is far easier to sit through Aline Brosh McKenna's previous film, "The Devil Wears Prada." The film moves along nicely, the actors are all sound in their performances and Katherine Heigl is a star in the making. "27 Dresses" is most certainly a Chick Flick, but it is one of the better ones I have seen in the past two years.
"27 Dresses" is presented with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and mastered in AVC MPEG-4 at 34 megabits per second. Now that we have the techno mumbo jumbo out of the way, the question remains of how does the picture look? "27 Dresses" is a run-of-the-mill Blu-ray transfer that doesn't do full justice to the colorful dresses of the film, but doesn't fail in any particular area. The word ‘average' perfectly describes this transfer. Colors are very good and nicely showcase the many colors of the twenty-seven bridesmaid dresses and the overly colorful apartment and office space inhabited by the main character. There are some instances where the hues appear slightly muted. Detail is good, but fine details such as skin pores and individual hairs do not stand out as they do on other Blu-ray transfers. The source materials themselves are very clean and I couldn't spot any flaws from either them or the digital transfer. The film is sufficient, but lacks the ‘pop' of the better Blu-ray transfers.
English and French soundtracks are provided for "27 Dresses," as well as English, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish subtitles. The English language track is potent DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio mix, whilst the French are forced to make due with a slightly inferior Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. I can tell you now that the English mix is the superior of the two, although I did enjoy trying to follow along and understand the French language track for about ten minutes. I believe I wasted four years of French class, because I cannot understand much of anything they are saying. Oddly, the packaging lists a French surround mix of only 2.1 channels and lists only English and Spanish subtitles. Chalk those errors up to a minor packaging mistake. The film is a romantic comedy and dialogue is quite clear. Aside from that, there are a few minimal bits of sound in the rear channels and "27 Dresses" is another front-heavy comedy that is clean, but minimal in its sound design.
While "27 Dresses" may not be feature-laden, the title does contain enough bits of value added content to please most consumers. The film, which is not an A-list title, contains four featurettes and some excised material. The disc does boot with a few previews, including one for "Juno." The first featurette, The Wedding Party (14:31) is an electronic press kit feature with James Marsden, Katherine Heigl and others talking about the film amongst a few making-of snippets and interviews where the cast and crew give their thoughts to the characters and story. You'll Never Wear That Again (6:46) has director Anne Fletcher and Costume Designer Catherine Marie Thomas talking about the twenty-seven dresses shown in the film. Jane's World (4:38) is Production Designer Shepherd Fankel's turn to talk about creating the sets used in the film. The final featurette, The Running of the Brides (5:05) is about a one-day sale at Filene's Basement where wedding gowns can be bought on the cheap. It looks like an interesting affair. Finally, three Deleted Scenes (3:58) complete the bonus offerings. The scenes are not shown in high definition, but are worth a quick peek.
Sitting down for 111 minutes to watch "27 Dresses" was nowhere near as painful as I feared it may have been. After watching Heigl in "Knocked Up," I was curious to see the actress' follow up performance in this film, but "27 Dresses" contained a plot that screamed ‘Chick Flick.' While I feel that this is a movie best enjoyed by a female audience, it is a good little romantic comedy that moves along nicely and provides a few good laughs and heartfelt moments. The writing isn't overly deep, but the performances more than make up for the film's few shortcomings. Guys shouldn't have too much problem watching this one with their significant (or potentially significant) others. It's cute. It's fun. But it's harmless. The Blu-ray transfer is pedestrian, but this is typical of romantic comedies. The supplements run for just over half-an-hour and show that Fox put forth some effort in making this a better purchase for the hard earned dollar.