FILMOFTHEWEEK 27DRESSES(12A) Though set in contemporary Manhattan, Anne Fletcher’s old hat of a romantic comedy has its fluttering heart in the 1950s, an era when every girl was thought to yearn only for a big fat white wedding to the man of her dreams. Why, it’s almost like that nasty old feminism never happened. Meet Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl). She’s twentysomething, gorgeous, with her own home and a presumably highly paid job as an executive assistant. She also has 27 bridesmaid’s dresses in her wardrobe, each a reminder of happy times at other people’s nuptials. Jane yearns to one day ask for a return of the favour, and she already has a groom in mind, her dull but kindly boss George (Edward Burns). He, however, is oblivious. Now meet Kevin Doyle (James Marsden), a reporter who writes about weddings but hates them with a vengeance. He can’t wait to ditch the society stuff to write about war and crime. Within minutes of sitting down, you can tell where the story is heading. Usually, predictability is half the charm of a romantic comedy. With a happy ending almost guaranteed, the director’s job is to make the journey novel and interesting. Fletcher is having none of that and hauls her movie straight up the aisle in leadlined boots. Content to be just another bland chick flick, it opts for the screamingly obvious at every turn. BACKTONORMANDY(12A) In 1835 Pierre Riviere, son of a Normandy farmer, plunged a bill hook into the heads of his mother, sister, and brother. In 1975, director Rene Allio made a movie about the murders. Now, Allio’s assistant director, who was 24 at the time, has turned in a documentary about the shooting of that film. Though a clever idea, Philibert’s documentary struggles to fill the running time. There is such a thing as too much detail. Filmhouse, March 31-April 3 THEHOTTIEANDTHENOTTIE(12A) In Tom Putnam’s depressing comedy, Paris Hilton is Cristabelle, glam pal to ugly bug June (Christine Lakin). Can Cristabelle play Cupid? How long did Paris train to perfect that “dazed and confused” acting style? Was that jail term long enough? Answers: yes, dunno, and not even close. The whole set-up is so dull and insulting that no-one should escape blame. DRILLBITTAYLOR(12A) Owen Wilson joins Judd Apaptow’s gang for this geeks’ comedy produced by the director of Knocked Up and co-written by one of its stars, Seth Rogen. One might have hoped for a funnier, sharper film than this. Drillbit Taylor – the name of Wilson’s down-and-out hero, who passes himself off as a professional bodyguard for three geeks being mercilessly bullied in their first year of highschool – is low on laughs, though high on charm. FIRSTSUNDAY(12A) Ice Cube plays Durrell, a down-on-hisluck small-time crook and straight man to Tracy Morgan’s Lee John Jackson, a motormouth dimwit. In debt to a tough Jamaican gangster and serving 5000 hours community service, Lee John convinces Durell to rob the local church of its maintenance fund-raising cash. Well-intentioned but predictable, First Sunday benefits from likeable performances from the leads but one would have liked a brighter script and less pedestrian direction.
Retro: Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses