Saturday, January 19, 2008

27 Dresses

I'm Too Sexy for this Dress!

Katherine Heigl probably captured the imagination of the many geeky boys out there when she gave Seth Logan's Ben Stone a one night stand in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up. It's a ridiculous premise some might add, but it propelled her to mass consciousness as the beautiful girl who would, and provided her an elevation of status she would recently decide to loathe. Anyway, all is forgiven, and she's back to grace our screens in a role that demonstrates you can attempt to dress her up in a sack, and even that would still make her look oh-so-sexy.

Yes she's a clotheshorse, and Aline Brosh McKenna, whose earlier work was adapting The Devil Wears Prada for the screen, wrote a story filled with clothes and accessories that would do her no wrong, try as they might. This in fact is the draw of the movie, hitting out at the target audience just as Prada did with the many fashionable clothes, and this time, wedding gowns fit for a bridesmaid. Heigl plays a plain Jane, who discovers that her goal in life is to ensure that others celebrate their unforgettable wedding day with everything going like clockwork. She's the maid of honour, and organizes everything from early preparation like food tasting right down to actual day menial tasks, like holding the bride's gown while she's taking a pee.

Like the trailer suggests, her perfect world is about to turn topsy turvy as the man of her dreams, her boss actually - George (Edward Burns), get smittened with her sexy-kitten sister Tess (Malin Akerman), thus allowing the green eyed monster to rear its ugly head, while at the same time, a mysterious lurker Kevin (James Marsden) becomes a perpetual irritation by trying very hard to crawl into her life. It's your classic recipe for a romantic comedy with love triangles, repressed feelings, and the most cliche of all, having the one you love standing right in front of you without you even knowing it.

However, 27 Dresses played out like how the dresses themselves get quickly discarded into an overflowing cupboard. It has tons of potential in its material, but decide to bite off too much more than it can possibly chew. Like In Her Shoes, there was stuff of sibling rivalry ripe for the picking, but easily get glossed over in fleeting, unmemorable moments when the sisters go up against each other. And the love loss moments, while clearly there to milk emotions of the sentimental ones, did highlight a certain truth - that when we act on our impulses of negativeness, be it anger or envy and the likes, while we get our short term satisfaction when dishing out sweet revenge at that moment, more often than not we'll very soon find that we're flooded with feelings of regret and remorse, that actions when done, are spilt milk that cannot be cried over.

I liked the beginning though, as it succinctly highlights the commercialization of the solemn marriage ceremony in modern times. These days, you can't tell one wedding moment apart from another, and don't get me started on those wedding dinners, where the same old formula gets repeated until they become stale, and you realize this starkness when you get invited to different weddings at the same venue, no doubt being packaged by the same offering. Such events are supposed to be unique and special, but they turn out like factory assembly lines.

In my opinion, Katherine Heigl would probably be able to cement her leading lady status, and probably able to marquee movies on her own soon enough. Perhaps it would be refreshing if we could see her take on more diverse roles, if she breaks out of the rom-com genre. James Marsden continues his bad run of supporting roles, from Hairspray and Enchanted. Here, he combines elements from both, continuing his himbo status, and makes it three in a row in exhibiting his singing voice. Edward Burns plays the male bitch, taking over Meryl Streep in Prada, though there's a subtlety in the difference here that he doesn't show that he's an ass outwardly in an explicit manner, but rather seemed to be like the one in Singapore Dreaming. And Heigl is not only the one here making an impact though, as Malin Akerman herself probably, and hopefully not in a permanent manner, boxed herself as the new ditzy blonde (remember The Heartbreak Kid?), clearly taking over the mantle from Cameron Diaz.

27 Dresses is a movie that's meant to be a filler during a date, and one which doesn't shy away from trying hard to satisfy those who have come to pay tribute to woman's fashion. Especially when they're modelled by a statuesque beauty like Heigl. Come to think of it, while the gowns get their fair share of screen time, all 27 of them, the ones that stand out are the ordinary ones worn by Jane. And that's what 27 Dresses actually is. Ordinary, and saved by the beauty.

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