27 Dresses
PG-13
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -2

Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Melora Hardin. Romantic comedy. Written by Aline Brosh McKenna. Directed by Anne Fletcher.

FILM SYNOSPIS: Jane (Katherine Heigl) is a romantic, selfless perennial bridesmaid with an unspoken crush on her boss. Just when she is about to declare that love, Janes sister shows up and sweeps Prince Charming off his feet. In silent frustration, Jane soon finds herself once again the bridesmaid, this time for her thoughtless sister. Added to the mix: a newspaper wedding-announcement writer shows up wanting to further his career with a cynical story about the girl who has worn 27 bridesmaid uniforms.

As the reporter attaches himself to both sisters, he continues to write his column at their expense. And even after he spends the night with our heroine, downing shots, singing on the top of a bar and ending the night sleeping together in the back of a stalled car, he still continues with his unfeelingly assessment. Havoc and hurt feelings ensue before Jane dons a white dress of her own.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The only positive thing I can say about 27 Dresses is that its something Hilary and Barack cant blame on George Bush. Hey folks, this isnt a movie, its a lab experiment. Its as if Dr. Frankenstein spliced together parts of unsold sitcoms, then jolted his monster to life with bolts of crudity and crassness.

Now, right away some will think, Oh, Phils just a guy who doesnt like chick flicks. Not so. I loved Waitress last year, and Becoming Jane the year before, and I Remember Mama from decades past. I love a good chick flick. The essential word in that sentence however, is not chick or flick its good. And 27 Dresses is not good.

Aline Brosh McKenna is the writer. She gave us the much better The Devil Wears Prada and the not-much-better Laws of Attraction. But here the screenwriter seems to have reverted back to her days in Writing 101. Her script is formulaic and predictable to the max, cluttered to the hilt with stereotypes, and clichd to the point that we see every upcoming gag days before her characters. And the jokes what jokes? Its a movie that relies on clumsy situations and crude sexual comments in order to garner a laugh response. At one point, for instance, the frustrated Jane bursts out of a party yelling an obscenity, only to look around and see a stunned elderly group celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary. Ha-ha. I wanted to groan, but was afraid I wouldnt stop.

Then theres the scene where the lead has to endure breakfast with her family while sis and the boss snuggle and smooch. In order to ignore the lovebirds, Jane finds herself looking down, stuffing the meal into her mouth faster than she can chew. The visual of packed cheeks is somewhat humorous because of the distortion of a beautiful face. But this is what we get from a highly paid writer? And nowadays, any pretty actress willing to deliver lines while chomping down on a couple of pancakes is considered the next Lucy. Though talented, Ms. Heigl is no Lucy. (Thats Lucille Ball for those of you who dont watch TV-Land.)

By this stage in my career I expect dull, witless, half-hearted comedies to be thrust upon January movie-going suckers, but this film is completely devoid of charm or substance. And in keeping with the cultures moral torpor, premarital sex is not only accepted, its discussed with all the gentility of a beer commercial. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the sidekick. Shes a promiscuous coworker and is there for no other reason than to utter cynical and graphic crudities.

A hundred and one times I have said, No one sets out to make a bad movie. Ive also tried respectfully to honor the abilities of those who found themselves ensnared within a bad movie. But my wrath pours forth due to the mystery of why this film got made in the first place. Perhaps the premise held promise. But didnt anybody connected to the project read the completed script before signing on the dotted line? Was it just ego that made all these non-comedians think they could make a funny movie?

I predict that no examiner of popular culture other than Dame Edna will give this cadaver of a comedy a positive critique. Yet, despite the surgery 27 Dresses will undergo by miffed film reviewers, some people will disregard our detailed cautionary notices. Whats even more stupefying is the fact that in three months when it comes out on DVD (maybe two), there will be some who actually buy it. Theyll add it to their film libraries, alongside Because I Said So, License To Wed and that Citizen Kane of romantic comedy, The Break-Up. Well, different strokes but when friends critically assess their cinematic taste with a disdainful, You bought that? I hope theyll remember, I warned ya.

DVD Alternative: Want a good chick flick? Rent the PG-rated Miss Potter. Renee Zellweger is witty, touching and erudite in this sharply written tale of writer Beatrix Potter. Ms. Zellweger plays an independent woman in an era when that outlook was shunned. Whats more, she radiates joy as a woman who discovers self-respect and one who lives to see her work appreciated. On top of that, Miss Potter was the most romantic film of 2006. (Have hankies on hand one for you, and yes, one for him.)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Summary
Crude Language: Several crude comments and situations.
Obscene Language: Around 10 obscenities, mostly the s-word and bitch and mostly from women; the lead utters mother-f-----. Theyve come a long way, baby.
Profanity: Oh my God and variations of that phrase are repeated several times.
Violence: A couple of slapstick pratfalls; a woman slaps a man (he deserves it).
Sexual Intercourse: Two sexual situations, one fairly graphic.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Social drinking; in one scene our lead couple get drunk in a bar, which leads them to a sexual situation.
Other: None
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: I give up.

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