“I don’t care if they want me to wear a funny dress,” says Jane (Katherine Heigl), a perpetual bridesmaid whose maid-of-honor duties range from negotiating with the cake designer to fitting the dress to holding up the train while the bride pees. “It’s their day, not mine.” So dedicated to her sideline as an amateur wedding planner is she that at the movie’s outset, she’s shuttling between two ceremonies in one night, changing outfits during cab rides from Manhattan to Brooklyn. She’s been in seven weddings over the past year, and there are 27 funny dresses in her closet. At heart a romantic, she explains, “Someday it’ll be my day, and then all these people will be there for me.”
Jane’s balancing act and her stuffed Filofax grab the attention of Kevin (James Marsden), a journalist on the bridal beat who sees in her the story that will launch him out of the style section. He seizes the opportunity when Jane’s sister Tess (Malin Akerman) breezes into town and works her wiles on Jane’s boss George (Edward Burns), an entrepreneurial, environmentally conscious, outdoorsy type with whom Jane is secretly in love. A whirlwind romance results in a proposal, and of course Jane is tapped to plan the affair.
On the heels of Knocked Up, Heigl proves a promising leading lady, classically beautiful without being intimidating and—never being able to say no, stuffing her mouth in moments of stress—capturing the insecurities that make her character relatable to women. Meanwhile, Marsden, delightful in Enchanted and Hairspray, affords himself well as a romantic interest.
There are familiar elements here, including a drunk duet of Elton John’s “ Benny and the Jets ” on top of a bar, and somehow when the characters get what they want, it doesn’t turn out quite like they had imagined. But Jane’s romanticism holds up nicely to Kevin’s cynicism, and the dialogue is sharp, with just enough of an edge to avoid sentimentality.
Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Judy Greer and Edward Burns
Director: Anne Fletcher
Screenwriter: Aline Brosh McKenna
Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman
Genre: Romantic comedy
Rating: PG-13 for language, some innuendo and sexuality
Running time: 107 min.
Release date: January 18, 2008