A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this film is fairly charming and no more objectionable, content-wise, than most other Hollywood romantic comedies (that is, if you don't object to movies that fully embrace romcom clichés), there is a fairly liberal sprinkling of swear words (particularly "s--t") and drinking. The message -- that women aren't truly happy if they're always the bridesmaid but never the bride -- verges on being a little overly retro, but since the movie is so frothy, it manages to get away with that such old-fashioned thinking. Star Katherine Heigl was in the hit comedy Knocked Up, so teens (particularly girls) will likely be interested.
What's the story?
Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) is a people pleaser to the core; she'll happily twist herself into a pretzel juggling two weddings in one night and playing second banana to Bridezillas -- which is how she's ended up in more than 20 wedding parties. Enter Kevin "Malcolm" Doyle (James Marsden) -- the journalist who writes Jane's favorite wedding column -- who helps her see how debilitating her selflessness has become. They hate each other at first, but then (no surprise) wind up together. Meanwhile, Jane's millionaire boss (Ed Burns) doesn't realize that she's madly infatuated with him. Instead, he falls for her vampy but vacuous sister, Tess (Malin Akerman).
Is it any good?
How anyone could swap Jane for Tess is a serious mystery -- just one of a number of 27 DRESSES' irritating, albeit small, flaws. On the other hand, there are some rewards -- like Judy Greer, who plays Casey, Jane's saucy, witty best friend. The movie also benefits from director Anne Fletcher's light-and-easy style (thankfully, she doesn't take the subject matter seriously) and, more importantly, the Heigl's effervescence. She and Marsden have great chemistry, making their predictable arc fairly entertaining.
The verdict: Brilliant 27 Dresses isn't, and there's something dated about the idea that a woman isn't happy when she's playing bridesmaid instead of bride. Considering that the movie was written by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also penned the bitingly exquisite The Devil Wears Prada, a bit more inventiveness shouldn't have been out of the question. But anyone who's donned a bridesmaid dress and has a romantic streak will enjoy this conventional confection -- consider it a no-guilt slice of wedding cake.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's message. What's wrong with being a bridesmaid? Is a woman truly not happy if she's never the bride? How does Hollywood contribute to this thinking? Families can also discuss weddings: Have they become, as one character says in the movie, an industry that capitalizes on romantic ideals? What truly makes a wedding special, if it's not the presents, the fancy dresses, and the over-the-top receptions?
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