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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Anne Fletcher|
scr Aline Brosh McKenna
with Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Edward Burns, Malin Akerman, Judy Greer, Brian Kerwin, David Castro, Maulik Pancholy, Michael Ziegfeld, Melora Hardin, Erin Fogel, Ronald Guttman
release US 18.Jan.08,
08/US Fox 1h47
Shall we dance: Heigl and Marsden
Despite its standard rom-com structure and relatively superficial story, this film entertains the audience with the sheer charisma of the actors. A charming cast goes a long way indeed.
Since she was a child, Jane (Heigl) has been obsessed with weddings and has, over the years, helped plan all of her friends' nuptials, standing up as a bridesmaid 27 times. She harbours a secret crush on her perfect-man boss (Burns), which becomes a bit of a problem when her sexy sister (Akerman) breezes into town and catches his eye. Suddenly Jane's in the awkward position of planning her own dream wedding for her sister. All while being hounded by the pesky Kevin (Marsden), a cynical wedding-beat journalist.
It's not like we're ever in any doubt where this is heading, although there are a few bumps along the way that we may not see coming. But it's Heigl and Marsden who really save the day, with sparkling performances that would be far too sweet if they didn't have a few rough edges that take them into some extremely graceless situations. These are people we can identify with and also aspire to become--not perfect but trying--which is a rather engaging combination.
And the film itself has a terrific sense of energy about it, undercutting the girliness with some surprisingly snappy humour. Heigl and Marsden get terrific support from the buoyant, slightly mad Akerman and the acerbic Greer (as Jane's scene-stealing best pal), while Burns coasts along smoothly in the least spiky role. McKenna's script is packed with razor-sharp dialog, while Fletcher's direction keeps scenes lively enough for us to ignore how superficial the film really is.
Essentially this is yet another unrealistic, cliché-ridden comedy designed to provide a romantic fantasy to the target audience: women just about to hit 30. Requisite set pieces include the cast singalong (this time it's Benny and the Jets), the dress-up montage and the race to the church. But let's give credit where it's due: Heigl is the best leading lady to emerge from Hollywood in years. She makes this film worth seeing and, combined with Marsden's dazzling smile, we don't have a chance.
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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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