Not enough frills to save ’27 Dresses’ from predictability

Another movie about clothes makes a perfect follow-up to “The Devil Wears Prada” for screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. However, while the dresses do make an appearance, they aren’t the focus of the movie. The mess of polyester and chiffon is simply a nice gimmick to lure sympathetic females to theaters.

Jane (Katherine Heigl, “Knocked Up,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) is the walking cliché of “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Yet she says she likes being a bridesmaid even though she is single. Jane’s the type of girl who has a hard time saying no to anyone for anything, including her sister when she gets engaged to the man Jane has been secretly in love with for years: her boss (Edward Burns, “One Missed Call,” “The Holiday”).

Adding to the dilemma is Kevin (James Marsden, “Enchanted,” “Hairspray”), a cynical wedding columnist who stumbles across Jane as she’s racing back and forth between two weddings on the same night. Fascinated by the hectic bridesmaid’s life scheduled in her day planner, he wants to write an article about her.

While a plot that revolves around weddings might make for an easy romantic comedy setting, it isn’t exactly the magical formula. In the end, the plot is a bit too formulaic and the resulting romance seems rushed and unbelievable, which is no fault of the actors.

Unlike her role in “Knocked Up,” here Heigl carries off a big-screen romantic comedy role that will appeal to females of all generations and comedic tastes. America’s current sweetheart plays yet another likeable character that the audience will be drawn to. She delivers witty lines with panache, and her character’s emotional process is quite believable. For instance, Heigl delivers a line about Jesus that will long live in memory. It just might not be enough to make audiences care to buy the DVD.

Marsden is quickly becoming the handsome romantic lead du jour. He was a singing dance- show host in “Hairspray” and a singing, tights-wearing prince in “Enchanted,” and naturally fits beside Heigl as a popular casting choice. While Marsden’s character could easily be seen as pushy or obnoxious, he manages to appear charming despite some sleazy actions. Predictability in the script again overshadows the actors, though, as Jane’s and Kevin’s favorite moments in any wedding are expectedly similar.

Certainly this movie does scratch that romantic itch that viewers may be searching for, but ultimately the plot is too light and fluffy to keep any serious attention. The film therefore becomes a star vehicle, surviving mainly on the popularity of its cast. Whether the still-burgeoning talents of Heigl and Marsden are enough to draw audiences is debatable. Unlike the news of an unexpected pregnancy, there are very few surprises in this romantic comedy.