27 Dresses (2008)

Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Judy Greer

Directed by: Anne Fletcher

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

The 27 dresses of the title - ew!

This July, at the ripe old age of thirty-cough, I will be a bridesmaid for the very first time. Perhaps, then, I should take some tips from Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl), the consummate maid of honour. Jane just loves weddings, the 27 dresses of the title referring to the multi-coloured frou-frou monstrosities she's worn across the years, and which are now crammed into a wardrobe in her chi-chi New York apartment.

Always, always, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, she's hopelessly and unrequitedly in love with her swarmy eco-warrier boss, George (Edward Burns), who only seems to acknowledge her existence when he needs his dry cleaning done. So you can imagine her delight when her spoilt sister Tess (Malin Akerman) swoops in from Milan and snatches the love of her life from right under her soppy sibling's nose – and then expects her to organise the wedding.

Fortunately for Jane, however (and an audience who knows that she's waaay too good for George), cynical wedding journalist Kevin Doyle (James Marsden) appears on the scene to provide the love/hate frisson every good romance needs. Like My Best Friend's Wedding, the film does chuck in a few red herrings to throw us off the perfumed reek of the happy ending, but really, you don't have to be JK Rowling to dream up a satisfactory solution to the plot. But who needs suspense when you can laugh at horrible '80s dresses? Um…

Katherine Heigl and James Marsden in 27 Dresses

Like any good romantic comedy, 27 Dresses is entirely carried by the charm of its leading lady. Mixing the girl-next-door cuteness of Sandra Bullock with the irresistible charisma of Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl is funny, clumsy, charming and delightfully real, and she makes you like this movie, even if, deep down, you suspect it may suck. Malin Akerman may be a poor man's Cameron Diaz, but she provides a suitably ditzy, selfish foil to Heigl's responsible, caring sharing Jane, although the lovely James Marsden isn't given much chance to shine – all the best lines are reserved for Jane and her drunken, wise-cracking best mate Casey (played by Judy Greer – evidently Sara Gilbert was busy).

As romantic comedies go (and you probably know by now, I'm not a big fan) 27 Dresses is quite good – it's not Pretty Woman or Four Weddings, but then again it's not Bridget Jones 2, thank God. And perhaps after 27 more romantic comedies, Katherine Heigl will get to do something else. Always the box office draw, never the Oscar winner? That's what they said about Julia Roberts...