Romantic Comedy Time Machine: I Rewatched "27 Dresses" So You Don't Have To

Pathetic, beautiful, financially stable Jane, the pitiable spinster.
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Elinor Jones
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Pathetic, beautiful, financially stable Jane, the pitiable spinster.

Well, it has been far too long! I’ve been so deeply nestled into movie season that I keep forgetting to write about movies. That changes...now. I know I told you last time that I planned on writing about "Kate & Leopold." And I tried. For like 45 minutes. Here’s the 7-word blog post about "Kate & Leopold": It is really boring and not cute.

But who needs time travel when we have Katherine Heigl?

I somehow made it through Heigl’s 2007 takeover of Hollywood without seeing "27 Dresses," and guess what? It’s pretty good! Much like The Wedding Planner -- in fact, exactly like it -- the film opens with a little girl full of hope and stereotypical societal expectations who just *loves* weddings. Little Jane (Heigl) says her purpose in life was helping others on their special day. Golly, what a purpose!

Fast-forward to today, and adult Jane is hustling as #1 bridesmaid. She hops back and forth between two weddings. Each bride repeats the oft-used reasoning that the bridesmaids’ dresses can be shortened and reworn. (No joke, I said that to myself about my own wedding dress. It’s currently festering in the back of my closet. Free blue wedding dress! Size 8, small beer stain, likely cursed.) Heigl crushes it as an ace bridesmaid at both weddings, although she misses the bouquet. HMMM, TELLING?!?

Girls never go to the bathroom alone.

Girls never go to the bathroom alone.

At one of those weddings, Jane passes out, and dashing James Marsden is the only one who tends to her. Uh, does she not have any other friends at the wedding where she is a bridesmaid? 

“Let’s get you into a cab,” he says ickily. AND THEN HE GETS INTO THE CAB WITH HER! I don’t live in New York but that’s not a thing strangers do, right? Like, locate spacey women, and then isolate her from her friends and then insist on going home with her? That seems...illegal.

Ugh, and he’s a WRITER. Of course! This joke of an anti-romantic waxes some BS about being anti-marriage which, of course, I agree with, but he is too smarmy to be agreeable. Then poor Jane leaves her agenda in the cab. (Teens: an “agenda” is like an iPhone on paper.) James Marsden snoops because he’s a dumb jerk.

This beautiful lonely spinster can’t even keep closed the doors of her closet of horrible bridesmaids dresses, but she settles into reading the Vows section of the newspaper because she is still a wedding fiend.

TWIST! James Marsden’s character writes that very vows section! He wants to write more about the wedding industry, like artificial price inflation and the exploitation of workers who make it all possible. While I agree with him, he still sucks.

Jane, meanwhile, goes into her job at a magazine. She is a thin white woman in the Big Apple, so obviously she works in publishing. Jane is in love with her dashing boss, George (Ed Burns), who immediately falls in love with Jane’s little sister, Tess (Malin Akerman, from the sorely missed "Trophy Wife.") Pathetic, beautiful, financially stable Jane, the pitiable spinster. She’ll never find love! She may as well be wearing glasses.

While dream guy is falling all over the hot sister, creepy James Marsden is being creepy up all in Jane’s agenda. He sends flowers. Jane: "Please find somebody else to be creepy with.” Men: This means stop.

Jane stumbles into the restaurant where dream guy George is proposing to her hot little sister Tess. Jane stands around like a miserable dummy while all the romance goes down. Get out of there, Jane! Stop torturing yourself! There are doors!

Not pictured: several exits.

Not pictured: several exits.

This bruise to Jane’s tender heart weakens her into accepting a date with James Marsden. She’s sad because she loves Ed Burns and also because she knows she’ll have to do everything for her little sister’s wedding -- the wedding she wants to have. And there’s only three weeks to make it happen! Jane is very conflicted when she learns that James Mardsen’s character writes pretty things for the vows section. 

“Are you a cynic who knows how to spin romantic crap for girls like me? I feel like I found out my favorite romantic song was written about a sandwich.” (Note to musicians: Please write a love song for a sandwich.)

James Marsden asks to see some of Jane’s horrible dresses. Outfit trying-on montage! This is worth the $2.99 amazon prime rental fee right here. Man, would I be exhausted to have that many friends! I’ve been a bridesmaid a precious few times, and while I cherish each memory, it is tiring. 27 times?! No, thank you! Not being very popular pays off.

Jane’s awesome slutty best friend, Casey, is played by Judy Greer. Judy Greer was criminally wasted in lame movies in the aughts. Casey and Jane hit up yoga together and get reprimanded for gossiping too much. Correct me if I’m wrong but this also happened like five times in "Sex and the City," right?

They are such Carries.

They are such Carries.

James Marsden reveals that he was married before but his wife was bad news so that’s why he’s jaded. Logically, this leads to him and Jane taking a road trip. At least he had a reason to be mad aside from just being a generic a-hole? Then they kiss, then they bang.

Alas, James Marsden had written a story about career bridesmaid Jane that got published before he gave the green light, which left Jane even more humiliated than she was when she was just a washed-up professionally successful and beautiful woman in her 20s. Jane slaps James Marsden. We know just where we are on that rom-com story arc? Whatever could happen next?!

Jane’s idiot sister Tess has cut up their mom’s wedding dress to make something terrible for her doomed wedding, and Jane has HAD IT. Let it be known that Katherine Heigl and her wide-set eyes are really, really beautiful. She gets a lot of shit. Too much, if you ask me. I find her charming.

But her character, Jane, is less of a doll. She puts together a really scathing slideshow (yes, a scathing slideshow) to humiliate her silly sister in front of crunchy dream man George. So the wedding is off. Because that’s how mad some people get about other people eating hot dogs sometimes.

James Marsden congratulates Jane for “doing something” because he’s maybe a sociopath and encourages others to get on his crazy train. Then he gives her a cell phone. OK, I like him. Even though it’s some shitty phone from like 2008. (This film was released in 2008.)

Jane and Tess have a big blowout where it’s revealed that they’re both jealous of each other. Jane has no choice but to tear up all of her ugly bridesmaids dresses. Reverse fashion montage!

Dreamboat George calls Jane to be his date to a benefit. “You never say no.” So she does! Then she quits! Then they KISS! What the hell? I thought she was falling in love with James Marsden? (I keep forgetting the name of his character, that’s why I keep having to use the full actor name. I could just say “cynical writer” but that wouldn’t give you enough of a visual.)

Obviously, the next thing that happens is that Jane gets on a mic at some fancy event and calls James Marsden cranky and says “There’s a very good chance I’m falling in love with you.” UGH, NO. Girls, stop with these dramatic fighters! They’ll argue about everything. But in this implausible movie, it works as well as anything can. Kiss kiss, clap clap.

One year later: another wedding. Tess is the maid of honor and designs handbags, which is what every woman who was too pampered to work in publishing did in New York in the early 2000s. 

“I put on my 28th dress,” said Jane. “Everything was perfect and I didn’t care.” Um, clearly she does care. She cares a lot. Too much. That’s her whole deal. And she marries James Marsden. And they’ll probably argue a lot. THE END.

This’ll work out.

This’ll work out.

Well, while my harpiness may not make it apparent, "27 Dresses" is so much better than I thought it would be! Yeah, this write-up is pretty dang salty, but compared to other stuff I’ve seen, and my horrible expectations, I am pretty happy. It beats time travel by a mile, that’s for sure.

So. What did we learn?

  • Girls shouldn’t go for the argumentative writer types. They are a hassle. There’s a reason these movies end the second after they get married.
  • Some people really care if other people eat hot dogs.
  • Katherine Heigl was a delight back in the day and she should dust herself off for a renaissance. Katherinaissance.
  • I detest the wedding industry and the institution of marriage but I love watching and writing about these movies. I am part of the problem. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever!

And in closing: Jane and Tess’s dad owns a hardware store in New York and sold weed-whackers to Manhattanites. Can somebody please explain this to me?

See you next time! I’m gonna try another Meg Ryan jam. "French Kiss"? I think oui!