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27 Dresses Review: The Delightfully Frothy Romantic Comedy Gem

Updated: Apr 29

Katherine Heigl Shines in This Utterly Charming Modern Fairy Tale

27 Dresses Review

Have you ever watched a romantic comedy that left you utterly spellbound from the opening frames? A movie that casts such an intoxicating spell of frothy whimsy and swoonworthy fantasy that you can't help but get swept up in the escapist magic? For me, that irresistible big-screen enchantment is 27 Dresses - the 2008 romantic gem that solidified Katherine Heigl's ascension into full-fledged movie stardom while reinstating our faith in the transporting power of classic boy-meets-girl fairy tales.

From director Anne Fletcher's delightfully madcap opening prologue introducing us to the kaleidoscope of deliriously over-the-top bridesmaids dresses our heroine Jane (Heigl) has collected over decades of service to her perpetually engaged friends, 27 Dresses establishes itself as a romantic romp drunk on pure, unencumbered joy. As Jane breezes through wedding after wedding looking radiant in each successively ludicrous ensemble - whether it's an undersea mermaid getup or a giant palm tree costume - Heigl's irresistible charisma and impeccable comic timing keep you utterly intoxicated by the fizzy daydream atmosphere.

It's the kind of effervescent opening gambit that feels like the cinematic equivalent of uncorking a bottle of champagne. A dazzling, laughing overture of satirical irreverence and infectious enthusiasm that sweeps you up in a carnival of delirious romantic visions before the story even properly begins. And when Jane's indefatigable optimism about someday finding her own soulmate crashes headlong into a harsh reality check, we're already too disarmed by the leading lady's pluck not to dive headlong into the fairy tale pandemonium that ensues.

An Iconic Romantic Heroine for the Ages

Because in Heigl's performance as the chronically upbeat, endlessly selfless Jane, 27 Dresses births a new iconic romantic comedy heroine in the lineage of Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, and Julia Roberts before her. Much like her predecessors, Heigl radiates an effervescent charm and warm, grounded relatability that renders her not just irresistibly lovable, but the ultimate avatar for audiences everywhere to live vicariously through.

From the moment she's introduced juggling her thankless job as an overeager personal assistant always at the beck and call of her boorish boss to her single-minded devotion organizing the weddings of her nearest and dearest, Heigl paints Jane as the quintessential modern everywoman stretched far too thin by the competing priorities foisted upon her. Yet for all Jane's self-abnegation and tendency to prioritize everyone else's needs and desires above her own, Heigl summons a feisty inner radiance that simply glows straight through the screen.

There's a magnetic sparkle perpetually dancing in her eyes conveying Jane's unwavering optimism and dauntless belief in life's boundless romantic possibilities. You can't shake the feeling that despite the nonstop barrage of indignities thrown Jane's way by selfish friends and dismissive colleagues, a happily ever after ending awaits in the wings because her indomitable spirit is too big, too unbreakable to ever stopper completely.

Heigl not only imbues her scenes with soulful transparency and hard-won emotionalism that elevates Jane far beyond stock rom-com archetype, she taps into a sublime theatrical grandeur evocative of the great screwball comediennes. You'll get swept up by her elastic physicality and melodic line deliveries, cackling with glee over the way she commands every ounce of the frame - whether gamely strutting like a leggy Palmetto bug waitress in a garish bridesmaid's upholstery confection or unleashing empowered, liberating karaoke renditions of "Benny and the Jets" alongside James Marsden's sharp-witted foil. She's a true comedic dynamo capable of upending genres through sheer force of charisma.

A Battle of Romantic Wits for the Ages

Speaking of James Marsden, the former X-Men star displays heretofore undetected reserves of rakishly dashing leading man chops that prove the ideal combustible foil for Heigl's effervescent romantic heroine. As the fiercely cynical writer forced to chronicle Jane's endless bridesmaid saga against his will, Marsden deploys barbed withering rejoinders and eye-rolls that feel utterly disarming yet indelible.

From the first frosty exchanges where his sardonic temperament deflates Jane's naïve romantic ideals, the reluctant courtship between the two simply crackles with the timeless zest of a Hepburn/Grant razor-sharp rapport filtered through a contemporary lens. And the resulting chemistry is outright magical - the sort of undeniable X-factor that powers the most rapturous classic meetcutes.

Marsden not only deliciously undercuts Heigl's soaring daydreams of happily-ever-afters with rapid-fire acerbic puncturing, but there's an unmistakable warmth and sensitivity beneath his barbed surface persona that hints at secret depths of roguish affection and tenderness. You utterly buy into the soulmate courtship underpinnings of their escalating spar, eager to see past the verbal jousting for the promising romantic buds blossoming in spite of both parties' vehement objections. It's a tango of delightful combustible friction that generates enough swoon-worthy romantic tension to power the entire movie.

27 Dresses Review

A Fairy Tale Rom-Com with Genuine Heart

And in uniting this sparklingly mismatched pair, 27 Dresses reinforces its well-earned status as a new generation's fairy tale romantic comedy for the ages. For as broadly satirical as Fletcher can be in skewering the excesses and artifice of 21st-century wedding culture or mining humor from Heigl's gaudy garb and Marsden's flinty cynicism, the film crucially tempers its excesses with soul-deep emotionalism and grounded relatability.

When Jane's obliviously self-absorbed Bridezilla Malin Akerman arrives in a whirlwind to commandeer not just her latest nuptials but the affections of the boss Jane spent years yearning over, 27 Dresses veers into unexpectedly poignant emotional territory. The ways Jane's rosy romantic notions get unceremoniously rocked by heartbreaking betrayals and eye-opening awakenings evokes a genuine sense of pathos too often missing from disposable rom-com trifles.

We ache for Heigl's lovelorn heroine as she navigates the pitfalls of putting everyone's contentment ahead of her own fulfillment. And we cheer when her crackling banter with Marsden's once-snippy foil morphs from frosty rivalry into achingly tender stirrings of repressed desire and authentic intimacy. Most importantly, we emotionally invest in seeing these two get their well-earned fairy tale ending after enduring the fires of disillusionment because their road to forever after has been rendered both honest and mythic in equal measure.

In essence, 27 Dresses harkens back to that timeless well of cinematic enchantment where grand romantic fantasies play out against all odds and souls divided find rapturous reunification - yet grounds its delirious visions in recognizably sincere territory. This is a film that earns those climactic swoons and heart-melting payoffs of reconciled affection because it put in the work humanizing and developing its players beyond stock cutouts.

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A Romantic Comedy Triumph

By the time Heigl unleashes those breathtaking karaoke vocals while Marsden watches smitten from the wings, you'll find yourself utterly swept up in the movie's Pop-art splendor and transcendent romantic yearnings. And as the pair finally relent to their unmistakable heart's deepest callings, there's an undeniable payoff to the journey - a sense of grand, well-earned catharsis that only the greatest movie love stories can ignite within us.

27 Dresses may start out as a frothy trifle, but it blossoms into something far richer - a poignant ode to mustering the bravery to pursue our most ardent romantic destinies, no matter how much the universe conspires against them. A fairy tale grounded in uncynical hope that true, unconditional love can still bloom in the most unassuming places if we stay open to enchantment's call and forge ahead with dauntless optimism.

And for that injection of revitalizing romantic faith alone, 27 Dresses endures as a cinematic gem to be cherished by the dreamers in us all. It reminds us that sometimes, the grandest happily-ever-afters can sprout from the most delightfully unexpected places - even from the biggest bundle of hideous bridesmaids dresses imaginable. All you need to do is keep putting one Foot in front of the other, embrace life's romantic pandemonium, and have faith that your sublime ending awaits. Just don't underestimate the transporting power of whimsy along the way.


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