Thursday, April 11, 2024

An Unrealistic Fairy Tale

Pretty Woman
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Hector Elizondo, Jason Alexander
Released: March 23, 1990

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Julia Roberts (lost to Kathy Bates for Misery

This movie is just like Cinderella....but with a hooker! I can't take credit for that joke; it was said by a comedian on VH1's I Love the '90s (1990 edition). The more "family friendly" version of this movie would be Maid in Manhattan.  (Because she's a maid (in Manhattan!) and not a prostitute! Actually, the first sentence of that review is about that movie being the PG version of Pretty Woman.

One thing I want to know is how the hell did Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) become a prostitute in the first place? Is it because her roommate/"friend" (you'll soon learn why I'm putting friend in quote marks), Kit, is one and she got her into the "business"? Now I don't know any prostitutes in real life, but I'm guessing, most, if any, don't look like Julia Roberts - because if you looked like Julia Roberts, you wouldn't need to be one! Seriously, she's in L.A. and she can't get work as a print model or on a game show modeling the prizes for the contestants or an acting gig on a soap opera? Everyone knows you don't need to be a good actor on a soap; you just need to be attractive! 

What we do know is that Vivian does want to "get out of here" and I don't blame her. She lives in a seedy apartment with her roommate and she has to avoid going out the front door or otherwise her landlord will stop her and demand the rent money which they do not have. She keeps her cash in a plastic box in the toilet tank and it looks like she barley has five bucks. She goes to a club called the Blue Banana (after getting dressed in her hooker attire) and confronts Kit who spent all their rent money on drugs. Not only that, but she still owes $200! Kit sucks! Why are they even friends? 

Meanwhile, at a business party, we meet Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) who is in town for business (and pleasure as we'll (and he'll!) soon find out!) He lives and works in New York City where he buys companies, then sells parts of them off. Later, Vivian will compare it to stealing cars and selling the parts and he agrees, but says what he does is legal. Wikipedia says he is a corporate raider. While Edward does have investors and banks give him money to help buy the companies, it is clear he has beaucoup d'argent. 

He leaves the party to go back to his hotel in Beverly Hills (not sure where the party was located) and he ends up taking his friend/lawyer's car because the limo he came in is buried behind other cars. His friend's name is Phillip, but let's be honest, most people would probably call him George because he's played by Jason Alexander aka George Costanza from Seinfeld. So Seinfeld premiered in 1989, but I feel like most people didn't start watching it until '92 or '93 so I doubt most people would know who he was if they saw this movie in the theater, but if they watched it much later, they would definitely be like, "Hey, it's George Costanza...and he plays a character that may be way more unlikable than he is in Seinfeld!" 

So the car Edward drives is a Lotus Esprit, which I admit, I've never heard of (eh, but I'm guessing most people have never heard of it). They wanted to use a Porsche or a Ferrari but they didn't give the film permission because they didn't want their cars associated with picking up prostitues....which I can't really blame them, but I'm sure they're kicking themselves after the fact, but I feel like they're fine. It't not like they needed the publicity and I'm sure it helped the Lotus Esprit with sales! He stops a couple of times asking people for directions. How the hell did we ever live in a society without GPS? He stops along the side of Hollywood Boulevard where Vivian and Kit are working. Right away they can tell it's a guy with a lot of money because of the car. Kit tells Vivian she "should go for him" because she "looks hot" and she shouldn't "take less than 100." Less than $100? WTF? She should be charging WAY more than that! That seems really cheap! There will be other monetary head scratchers that I'll mention later. I guess 1990 was so long ago that the money seems like a lot, but today, it just seems like it's barely nothing. 

So she struts up to his car and asks if he's looking for a date and he tells her he needs directions. She charges five dollars at first, but then ups it to twenty when she gets in the car to personally be his navigator. He's staying at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, a posh hotel. 

When they reach the hotel, Vivian tells him she's going to take a cab back with her twenty bucks. She had told him earlier she charged $100 an hour and he asks her to accompany her into the hotel. Now I don't know if he felt bad that he made her wait outside for the bus (she told him she was going to take a cab back, then a minute later, she tells him she prefers the bus...this is very confusing) or if he was just horny. Could be both. I mean, it's not like they go at it once they get up to the penthouse where they're staying. He wants them to talk a little first. Before they enter the hotel, he gives Vivian his coat so she can cover herself up. Keep in mind she's wearing her hooker attire which consists of a short skirt and thigh high black leather boots that just scream STREET WALKER. They also looks seriously uncomfortable and look like a pain in the ass to put on and remove. 

They enter the hotel and instead of keeping the jacket cinched around her (yes, the unfortunate boots are still visible), she keeps it open, purposely showing off her outfit. Of course, people are staring at her and this prompts her to be especially uncouth in front of a conservative elderly couple and she pretty much flashes them. Honestly, at this point, she's being rude just for the sake of being rude and Edward should have told her to leave. 

Before they get on the elevator, Edwards stops at the front desk to request champagne and strawberries be sent up to his room (what a cliche!) and I have to give the concierge a lot of credit for keeping her business face on because she can clearly see Vivian in her hooker attire standing against a post. Like, she knows what's up. Then later, the man who delivers the stuff sees her. I can only imagine the gossip among the staff at this posh hotel. When you think of hookers, you think of seedy motels. I've seen CSI:; that's where they always find the bodies of prostitutes. Speaking of which, that has to be the best way to get yourself murdered. The clientele for prostitues has to be pretty unsavory. This is why I don't understand why Vivian isn't behaving a little more ladylike. Edward is a good-looking rich guy who hasn't given any indication that he's going to murder her, so she's on the right path so far! He's not even married or seeing anyone! We know she knows this because she asks him if he has a wife or a girlfriend and he tells her he has both, but that's not true because they're both his exes. He should have told her he used to be married and that he just broke up with his girlfriend (which is the first scene of the movie). 

He asks her how much it would cost if she spent the entire night and she tells him that he couldn't afford it, then tells him it would cost $300. Huh? The math isn't mathing. First of all, he's staying the week in a penthouse of a posh hotel. I think he can part with a measly $300. Also, if she says her hourly rate is $100/hr, why would she charge him only $300 for the whole night? It makes no sense. 

There's a scene where she's in the bathroom and when he comes in, she quickly hides something behind her back. He thinks it's drugs and tells her to get out, but when he reaches behind her to grab her her, it's just dental floss that she was using because she was trying to get the strawberry seeds stuck in her teeth. Aside from having the scene to think she was using drugs, I'm not sure why she was hiding floss behind her back. Was it his dental floss and she didn't want him to know she was using it? I'm sure he was confused too because why didn't she just tell him it was dental floss when he was accusing her of using drugs? 

The next morning it is revealed that the blonde bob Vivian was sporting was just a wig and she has a whole mass of curly red the hell did she pile all of her hair under that wig? She asks Edward if she can use his tub before she leaves and he lets her. He's getting ready for his day of meetings and is on the phone with Phillip who has set up a dinner meeting for Edward with Mr. Morse, the owner of Morse Industries which Edward is planning on buying. He'll be bringing his grandson, David, who will eventually take over the company. Philip doesn't think Edward should attend the meeting alone and he should bring a date and "keep it social." I would understand this if Mr. Morse had brought his wife, but obviously this is only in here so Edward can ask Vivian to accompany him. 

He goes in the bathroom where she's taking a bubble bath and has her eyes closed and is singing along to Prince with headphones on. She seems unaware that he's in the room for a good couple of minutes which I find hard to believe. He tells her he has "a business proposition" for her. He will be in town until Sunday and wants her to spend the week with him. They start negotiating a price. She wants $4000 for the full six days and nights. He goes down to $2000 and when she says $3000, that price is agreed on. Huh? Again, this seems really cheap. I guess $3000 was a lot in 1990 because she seems ecstatic about it. She could have easily gotten $10,000. That was terribly negotiating on her part, especially when she tells him later she would have stayed for $2000. He tells her he would have paid $4000. Before he leaves for the day, she tells him, "I'm gonna treat you so nice, you're never gonna want to let me go." He says he will let her go and her face drops. But don't worry, they haven't properly fallen in love yet! 

After he leaves, she calls Kit to tell her what's going on. She tells her she's already got $300 from last night and is going to leave it at the front desk for Kit to come and pick up. Why the hell is she leaving money for this woman? The same woman who spent their rent money on drugs? 

Edward has left some money for Vivian to buy some clothes. Now we all know what happens next: she goes into a very chic shop on Rodeo Drive wearing her hooker attire because that's the only outfit she has. The shopkeepers are rude to her and tell her she needs to leave because she's "obviously in the wrong spot." Yes, they were being snotty as all hell, but I don't know why Vivian thought it was appropriate to wear a short skirt, a top where a bunch of skin is showing and her hooker boots to a very luxurious Beverly Hills shop. Let's workshop how she could have done this better:

-She could have worn her red coat over her outfit. (I don't know if I mentioned this earlier, but she does have her own coat.) Sure, it would look like she wasn't wearing any pants, but at least she would be a bit more covered up. Though there is still the problem of her hooker boots. 

-She could have worn one of Edward's white button down shirts. That's actually what she does when they go shopping the day after and by then she will have more appropriate heels, but she would still have those damn ugly boots. 

I actually 100% blame Edward for this. Even if Vivian did cover herself up with her jacket or one of his shirts, she'd still have the boots which are by far the sleaziest part of her outfit. I'm sorry, but they are just so cheap looking! It turns out that if he had asked the hotel's manger, Bernard Thompson (Hector Elizondo), he would have been able to get the right ensemble for Vivian. That's what happens when Vivian comes back to the hotel after her failed shopping excursion. Bernard stops her and asks to have a chat with her. He tells her that "things that go on at other hotels don't happen at the Regent Beverly Wilshire", but since Mr. Lewis is "a very special customer", they're willing to overlook the fact that he hasn't signed her in. He prompts her to say that she's a relative of his and she agrees, saying that she's his niece. He confirms that he won't see her again once Mr. Lewis leaves and assumes she has no other uncles here and she just rolls her eyes. When he encourages her to "dress more appropriately", she tells him she tried, and this is when he gets on the phone and asks for women's clothing. Now I wasn't sure if this was part of the hotel because when we see her getting the dress, it looks like she's in a hotel, but when Bernard calls, he introduces himself as being from the Beverly Wilshire. She ends up getting a cocktail dress and heels that she wears to dinner that night with Edward.

The next day she will go with Edward to continue shopping, but this time she's wearing a white shirt over her hooker attire (which has to stink; this is the third day she's worn it!), but this time she's wearing heels so at least the look doesn't scream STREET WALKER. They go to a store and this is when we get the "Pretty Woman" montage with Vivian trying on all the clothes she will buy. Of course, this is when we get the famous scene where she's all dolled up in her white dress and black hat looking gorgeous and she goes back to the snooty store and asks them if they remember her. Of course they don't, so she reminds them she was in there yesterday and they wouldn't wait on her. When she asks if they work on commission and they confirm, she holds up her many shopping bags and tells them, "Big mistake. Big. Huge." It's probably the most famous scene in the movie so I get why they plotted it that way.

When she returns to the hotel in her sophisticated new look, Bernard looks like a proud dad. Before she went to the fancy dinner with Edward and Mr. Morse and his grandson, Bernard had taught her what fork to use for what item and how to behave like a lady. Isn't this what he does for Mia Thermopolis before she becomes the Princess of Genova? They should have had Hector Elizondo play the same character in The Princess Diaries! Maybe Bernard gets promoted to being an assistant for Queen Julie Andrews! Missed opportunity there! 

So at the fancy dinner, Edwards orders food for Vivian while she's in the ladies' room and when she comes back, she finds a plate of escargots. Now I've had escargots a couple times at a French restaurant (they were good!), but they were much smaller and weren't in the shell like they are here. She has to use some kind of tool to crack the shell and ends up sending the snail flying. You would think at a fancy restaurant, they would have the escargots all prepared; it seems like a pain trying to crack the shell, and honestly, it didn't look that appetizing either. 

To be honest, I didn't quite understand/care about the business parts of this movie (boring!), but all I know is that Edward wants to buy Morse Industries, but Mr. Morse doesn't want to sell and wants his grandson, David to take over. Something like that. 

Edward and Vivian attend a polo game (it's all part of business because David plays in the game) and Phillip and his wife are also in attendance so Edward introduces Vivian to them. After the match, David comes over to say hi to Vivian and shows her his horse. Phillip sees this and is worried Vivian might be a spy working for the other side. He asks Edward how they met and what she does. He replies that he helped him with directions and that she's in "sales". Phillip presses more, but Edward won't tell him what she sells. Phillip asks him, "How do you know she hasn't attached herself to you and is bringing information to Morse?" He thinks she might be "industrial espionage." This is when Edward reveals that she's a hooker and he picked her up on Hollywood Boulevard. That's such a jerk move to do. While he talks to a VIP guest, Philip has a smug look on his face and walks over to Vivian and asks her if she's having a nice time and that it "must be quite a change from Hollywood Boulevard." Her smile quickly disappears and she's clearly uncomfortable. He explains that Edward told him and that her "secret is safe with [him]" and sleazily tells her that maybe they could get together sometime. 

Rightly, Vivian is angry at Edward and lashes out at him when they return to the penthouse. He tells her that he's not happy he told Phillip that, but makes an excuse that he's his lawyer and he's known him for ten years and that he (Phillip) thought she as "an industrial spy" and that he's "paranoid." 

They fight and Vivian tells him she's sorry she met him and that she ever got in his car. She gathers her stuff and asks for her money, but when he throws it on the bed, she doesn't take it. While waiting for the elevator, he apologizes, saying he doesn't want her to go and admits he was jealous when she was talking to David. She stays and tells him he hurt her and not to do it again.

We find out Vivian ended up in L.A. because she followed a guy there, but quickly found herself without any money or friends and it didn't work out with the guy. Before she became a prostitute, she worked at a couple fast food places, but couldn't make the rent and was too ashamed to go home. She met Kit and she made being a hooker "sound so great"(I'm guessing the money), and she started doing it and "got some regulars". I guess she wasn't too ashamed to do that! 

After the shopping montage and revenge line, the scene that's probably tied with it for most famous in the movie is when Vivian is wearing the iconic red dress and Edward shows her the (very expensive) necklace to go with it. When she reaches to touch it, he snaps the box close and she laughs. Everyone knows this scene even if they've never seen this movie. This is when they fly to San Fransisco to attend an opera. They see La Traviata and the main song is one of my favorites and one of the only opera songs I'm familiar with. They sit in balcony seats and after the opera, an elderly woman asks Vivian if she enjoyed it and she replies, "It was so good, I almost peed my pants." The woman is confused and Edward tells her, ""She said she like it better than Pirates of Penzance." Sure, it's a funny moment, but it doesn't make much sense. Usually people "pee their pants" if something scares them, not if they like something a lot. I liked the few seconds where the confused old woman is trying to figure out if that's what she actually said. 

The next day, Vivian suggests Edward take the day off and he agrees since he owns the company. Taking a day off is something Edward hardly does so you know this means that he has feelings for her! We see them eating a picnic in the park as he reads Shakespeare sonnets to her, then they have dinner in a diner. They end their day in bed with some passionate kissing and you know that she has feelings for him because when they first met, she told him she does "everything" except kiss on the mouth. I guess because it's too intimate and that's only reserved for people she has true feelings for. Now you know they are both in love! 

The week is nearly over and Edward tells Vivian that his business is nearly done and he'll be going back to New York. He tells her he would like to see her again and he can arrange for her to have an apartment, a car, and "a wide variety of stores that'll suck up to you anytime you want to go shopping." Vivian does not look thrilled. He asks her what she sees happening between them and she says "I don't know." She tells him about when she was a little girl and  her mom used to lock her in the attic when she was bad "which was pretty often." She would pretend to be a princess "trapped in a tower by a wicked queen." A knight on a white horse would climb up the tower to rescue her. Never once when she thought about this fantasy did the knight say to her, "Come on, baby. I'll put you up in a great condo." Before they can discuss anything further, Edward gets a phone call from Phillip and needs to meet with Mr. Morse. He tells Vivian "this is all I'm capable of right now." Vivian replies "It's a really good offer for a girl like me." She just wants more 

Kit comes to the hotel and they talk at the pool. Kit realizes her friend is in love with Edward, but Vivian denies it, but then pretty much admits it, but knows it won't work out and wants Kit to name someone that something like this has happened to before. Kit has to think, then comes up with Cinderella. (Well, actually she says "Cinder-f***ing-rella"). They just both laugh. 

Edward decides to work with Morse instead of buying his company and this doesn't make Philip happy. While he was being sleazy at the polo game, he physically assaults her and tries to sexually assault her at the penthouse, but Edward comes back in time before anything worse can happen and tells him to get out and to never come back. After making sure Vivian is okay, they talk about his previous offer. She tells him a few months ago, she would have taken it, but things have changed and now she "wants more", she "wants the fairy tale." He basically tells her he can't offer her that. He pays her and gives her his card, telling her that if she ever needs anything, for her to call him. Before she leaves, he asks her to stay the night with him; not because he's paying her, but because he wants her to. She tells him she can't. 

After Vivian says goodbye to Bernard, he insists that he have Darryl (the hotel's designated driver, it seems) drive her wherever she needs to go instead of taking a cab. The next day, back at her crappy apartment with Kit, we find out she plans to move to San Francisco where she'll get a job and finish high school. She gives Kit money and says it's "from the Edward Lewis scholarship fund." I'm not sure how much she gave her, but I'm assuming at least half. Is this really a good idea to give a drug addict all that money? Hmm, probably not. They say goodbye because Vivian's bus will arrive within an hour...gee, I hope that's enough time for a certain somebody to get there before she's gone forever! (Oh, it's not like you know what's going to happen at the end!) 

Back at the Beverly Wilshire, Edward tells Bernard that he'll need a car to the airport and he arranges for Darryl to take him wherever he needs to go. (Question: what if Darryl is driving someone else at that moment? Do they have other drivers on standby?) Edward also requests that the necklace be returned (oh, did I mention he was only borrowing it?). Bernard asks permission to open the box and look at it. He comments, "It must be so difficult to let go of something so beautiful." Subtle, Bernard. And if you didn't think Edward didn't get his point (or if the audience didn't get it), he adds that Darryl drove Vivian home yesterday, thus hinting that Darryl knows where she lives. 

Well, surprise, surprise, Edward ends up arriving at her apartment in the white limo (not a white horse, but close enough) and climbs up the fire escape. Once he reaches her, he asks, "So what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?" and she replies, "She rescues him right back." They kiss and I roll my eyes. This would be a great time to comment about the trailer because this exchange is in it! What the hell? Why would you have the very last scene in the movie? Also, it seems they're telling the audience that they end up together in the end. The trailer for this movie makes it look like a slapstick comedy. She's a prostitute who doesn't know how to behaving in social situations and must learn how to act like a lady! He's the millionaire who can't seem to find love and ends up falling for her! Hijinx ensue! 

Also, we can all agree these two aren't staying together, right? I give it six months, tops. Ironically, it probably would have been better for her to go to San Francisco and finish school there. In New York, she's probably just going to be Edward's trophy girlfriend and just sit around in his nice apartment and go shopping all the time. Sure, it sounds cushy, but what's going to happen once they break up? She'll probably end up on the streets again! 

However, if they do make it and end up together and have children, there's no way they're going to tell their kids how they met, right? They're going to need to come up with a cover story! 

This movie is a bit unrealistic, but it is a '90s classic for sure. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Honey, I Shrunk Myself

Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, Hong Chau
Released: December 22, 2017

As someone who lives in Omaha, the people of Omaha/Nebraska should be thankful for Alexander Payne. Why? Because if it weren't for him, the state of Nebraska would probably be best known for Teen Wolf, and trust me, we need all the help we can get. Yes, we have Warren Buffett and that one Lady Gaga song, but as far as films, it would be totally embarrassing and shameful if Teen Wolf (which takes place in some fictional Nebraska town, but wasn't filmed there) was the movie everyone thought about if (for whatever reason) movies that take place in Nebraska was brought up. Payne, who is from Omaha, has set many of his movies in Nebraska, usually Omaha. I remember when I saw About Schmidt with my mom and she goes, "Oh! There's [name of friend]'s house!" 

So this movie is interesting, to say the least. I knew that it was about Matt Damon becoming small (very small!) and when I first started watching it, I was like, Oh, this movie is like Honey I Shrunk the Kids! Except it's not. In that movie, Rick Moranis invents his contraption to shrink items; it's not meant for shrinking people. In this movie, shrinking people is very intentional and the whole point. Also, once you become small, you can never go back to your normal size, but, luckily, in Honey, the four shrunken kids are restored to their normal size. 

The movie starts in Bergen, Norway, where we see a scientist inject a mouse with something and put it into some machine, and, later, when he opens it, he looks surprised. We don't see the mini mouse (heh), but we know what he's seeing because we know what this movie's about. He excitedly tells his news to another colleague. 

Five years later and we're in Istanbul at a conference with a company called Global Solutions where the topic that day will be "Human Scale and Sustainability" with Dr. Andreas Jacobsen and Dr. Jorgen Asbjornsen from the Edvardsen Institute. In case you couldn't tell from their names, they're the two men from Norway we met in the first scene. 

Dr. Jacobsen tells the audience that the Institute "identified overpopulation as mankind's single greatest long-term threat" in the 1950s. One of their ideas they came up with many year ago seemed "too ambitious" and "out of their grasp", but they have finally made it a reality. While he's talking, he's standing next to a podium with a wooden box, maybe a little bigger than a shoebox, on it. He announces they are about to unveil what they "believe to be the only practical, humane and inclusive remedy to humanity's gravest problem" (He sure is laying it on thick here!) and that his colleague, Dr. Jorgen Ashborgsen, will tell them what it is. The audience clearly sees what is it when he lifts the box to reveal the tiny man who is Jorgen. He is standing behind his own tiny podium. 

Everyone is gasping and I can't blame them. That would freak me the f*** out. People are standing to get a better look and most of them are taking pictures/videos with their phones. Honestly, I'm surprised they were allowed to bring their phones. Somebody could just post a picture/video to social media and it would be out before they were ready to share their finding with the rest of the world. Even though Jorgen is small, his voice is still the same when he was his normal size. He says he and his colleagues "discovered a process by which all organic material can be reduced at the cellular level by a ratio of approximately 2,744 to one." This converts a man of 1.8 meters (5'11"; I had to ask Alexa to convert!) to 12.9 centimeter (5 inches)! That's a lot of science and math in one sentence. They also tested flora and fauna and "with the exception of some fish and shellfish, no side effects were detected." (I wonder what they were). 

He presents a slideshow on the screen with the "experimental group" which consisted of 36 volunteers who joined him and his wife, Anne-Helene. Once they knew the procedure was safe, these 36 people became the "very first humans to undergo cellular reduction." I'm sorry, but who the f*** would volunteer for this? Jorgen says the volunteers are brave, but I would call them stupid idiots. We see a slide of the group sitting on some rocks outside. I guess the rocks are supposed to be pebbles, but they look like normal sized people sitting on/standing around boulders, which it probably is in reality! He claims the process is "short and painless" (heh, I wonder if he realized he was making a pun), the only discomfort being the "removal and replacement of dental and other prosthetics" We see a before and after picture of a man who downsized and the latter has a ruler and a measuring cup next to the tiny man to make it clear and obvious he's tiny! 

This must be going viral by now (thanks to all those audience members publishing their pics and videos to social media!) because other people who are in the building (at other conferences or meetings, I guess) come rushing into the auditorium to see the tiny man. He is now talking about their "little village" which is 7 meters (23 feet) by 11 meters (36 feet). It was "placed inside a gas-permeable enclosure designed to protect [them] from the hazards of weather, animals, and insects." Obviously, these people have never seen Honey, I Shrunk the Kids or they would know they could become friends with ants! Remember Anty? While he tells them they are living together in "the world's very first self-sustaining community of the small" (well, duh), Dr. Jacobsen, who had left while Tiny Jorgen was talking, walks in with a trash bag that's probably a third full, and announces to the audience that he's holding "all of the un-compostable waste produced by 36 people over four years." Wait, shouldn't it be 38 people since it was 36 people who joined Jorgen and Anne-Helene? Well, 36/38, either way, they don't use that much trash. Can you imagine how much waste 36 (or 38!) people produce in four years? Much more than that! I guess the tiny people have to feel smug about something! They have a "proposal for a two to three hundred-year transition for the world to transform from big into small." 

This seems like a lot of work to transform every person in the world (not to mention all the flora and fauna!) into miniature versions of themselves. Not to mention you'll have to completely change the infrastructure and don't get me started on transportation. Are there going to be tiny planes and boats now? I'm not exactly sure how far they got into their plan. There's a lot of holes in their plan that don't always get addressed. 

The very first village of tiny people are brought out on stage on a cart and the audience thinks this is the greatest thing ever. Nobody seems to have any objection to this at all. You think there would be one person who might find this a little unethical? No? Anyway, as you may have guessed, trick photography is used in scenes like this. 

They don't specify but I'm guessing all the small people are Norwegian. Jorgen points out a family with a toddler and baby and tells them that Ronni Nestrud is the "first small baby ever born." I'm guessing his baby sister is the second small baby ever born! 

I have to wonder....they said these 36 people volunteered to become small, but do you think there was a much larger pool of volunteers and they specifically picked these 36 people because they would help society? Like, maybe there was a doctor, someone in engineering, computer software, construction, just different experts in different subjects so they would have the knowledge to create what they needed? They don't really address that, but it must be the case! 

To no one's surprise, this thing goes viral and is shown all over the world. This is when we meet Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) who lives in Omaha and works at Omaha Steaks. This is just a quick introduction and the next thing we know, ten years have passed. He's now married to a woman named Audrey (Kristen Wiig) and still works at Omaha Steaks, but he's an in-house physical therapist who helps people with their wrists and joints. 

By this time, it's been fifteen years since the reveal of the new technology that can make people become small and several people have undergone the treatment. Paul and two of his friends are at a bar watching a news program that is debating the effects of people becoming small. We see a regular sized man and a small woman debating. The man says it's having a "devastating effect on our world economy" as billions of dollars are lost in consumer spending.  

So in this part of the movie, it's set in Omaha and I did get a chuckle out of a few things that only I (or anyone from here) would get. Paul and Audrey are wanting to move and are looking at a very nice house (that's probably in west Omaha!) and Audrey really likes it, but Paul thinks they should look "at that place in Benson". Haha, I know where that is! We see them attend a reunion at Creighton Prep. I've heard of it! Matt Damon wears a "Nebraska" shirt in a couple scenes. Ha, do you think he felt like a traitor? 

At the reunion, Paul runs into a former classmate randomly played by James Van der Beek (we'll see some other cameos pop up later) who is in the medical field. We find out that Paul was pre-med and wanted to be a surgeon, but had to take care of his sick mom (who has since passed away). Basically, he could have had this great life and make good money, but that's not the way things worked out for him.

During the reunion, a guy walks in with a diorama box and it contains a former class mate, Dave Johnson, and his wife, Carol who have both become small. In the box there are two small couches and they both have miniature megaphones (hmmm, is that an oxymoron?) they use to communicate. Quick question: do they have to make the small furniture, or can they shrink that too? I'm guessing it's the former. Now if they had Wayne Szalinkski's contraption, they could have easily just shrunk furniture and other objects. 

After the party, a few people have gone back to Paul and Audrey's house, including the small couple. While Carol is talking to a large group in the living room (she's on the coffee table they're sitting around), Paul is talking to Dave in the kitchen. Dave tells Paul that he and Carol had been living in Vegas where he had gotten "into some real bad habits" and "hit rock bottom." He and his wife decided they needed to change and "start all over" and that's why they became small. (That's a pretty intense and permanent change!) Paul tells him he must feel good about helping to save the planet, but Dave tells him "downsizing is about saving yourself." He says it takes money pressure off and that he's not "driven and ambitious", but he and Carol have a pretty cushy life. He tells Paul that if he and Audrey ever decide to go to small, they should live in Leisureland which is located in New Mexico. The name makes me laugh because it sounds like something you would find at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, you know, like Adventureland or Tomorrowland, etc. Leisureland has the best houses, doctors, and even has three Cheesecake Factories! (Why the f*** do you need THREE of those?) 

Much later, Paul will have another conversation with his (small) neighbor who tells him that people don't become small to help the environment, but do it to become rich and have the things they couldn't have if they weren't small. 

Both Paul and Carol have romanticized the idea of being small and Paul and Audrey basically think what do they have to lose? They drive to Sante Fe where people go to get small just so they can check it out and see "if it's for [them] or not." On the drive there, they pass a billboard for Leisureland Estate claiming to be "America's #1 micro communinity." Pictured is a bunch of people and a dog...and a hot air balloon, so I guess they've created hot air balloons for the miniature people! They enter a huge building that has models of the homes that small people in. Actually, models would imply that they're smaller scale, but these are probably the same size of the actual homes you would see in Leisureland. They look like huge doll houses, so they're basically mansions for the miniature people. 

A huge home for the small if set up in a theater and Senior Product Specialist Jeff Lonowoksi (played by Neil Patrick Harris) comes out the front door, being filmed by a camera guy and it's being shown on the screen for the normal sized people to watch. How did they create a camera that small? I guess it's very possible to create anything in small scale! 

He shows the audience the inside of his house (which, let's be real, probably isn't really his house, but probably a version of it) and it opens up like a dollhouse. I'm guessing since this is a show house for normal sized people, they created it that way so they could see the inside. Laura Dern is taking a bubble bath in the upstairs bathroom and her name is Laura and I thought she was playing herself, but she's the wife to Jeff, so she's just playing a character named Laura. I know Alexander Payne worked with Bruce Dern in Nebraska, so it was probably easy for him to get her to have a quick cameo in this movie. She's pretty much there to schmooze about what an amazing life they have. She's taking a bubble bath "to relax after such a busy day." She took a tennis lesson, had a massage, and after "a gourmet lunch with the girls" (heh, guess they didn't go to one of the three Cheesecake Factories in their town!), they went downtown to the new jewelry store where she bought "another diamond necklace" with a matching necklace and earrings. Of course she had to add that they were "all conflict free and set in platinum." All of it cost only $83 which is also equal to their food budget for two months. I have to say, they are doing a great job of selling becoming small because the normal sized people are looking very impressed and Paul and Audrey both have an excited look on their face as if to say that they're ready for this lavish lifestyle. I don't know...I don't know if I could become a miniature version of myself just to have all this nice stuff. It might seem great at first, but I feel like I would regret it very soon! 

Paul and Audrey talk to a (normal-sized) representative about going small and how much it would cost. She tells them that if they "liquidate [their] current home, cars, and other assets, they can purchase the Regency-level estate (which is the 12,000 square foot equivalent home on the 1.5 acre equivalent lot) at a base price of $63,000." Added to that will be the heat and fitness package ($4,500) that includes gym, pool sauna, stream, hot tub, and a tennis court. The medical procedure for the two of them will cost $15,00 and insurance doesn't cover any of it, but "at the Recency level [they] qualify for a substantial discount." Now I wasn't quite clear if it was $15,000 for the both of them or each of them, but either way, it seemed kind of cheap for the procedure they might undergo. She takes a look at their current debt and retirement and other savings to see they are at a $152,000 in equity and tells them that's a "comfortable number" and in Leisureland that translates to 12.5 million. Both Paul and Audrey are very impressed by this and it makes them happy. Audrey asks the woman why she hasn't become small since it's such a good thing and she replies that she would except that her husband had a hip replacement so he's ineligible. A part of me (the cynical part) was wondering if the woman was just making that up, that she was just trying to sell them on becoming small and makes up some reason why she isn't a small person because she does a great job of selling it! 

Back home, Paul and Audrey decide that they're going to go through with becoming small and they sell a bunch of their stuff at a garage sale. In one of the last scenes set in Omaha, they have a farewell dinner with their friends at a restaurant called Jams downtown in the Old Market. This was the most exciting part of the movie for me because I've been to that very restaurant a couple times! The last time I was there I ordered the Texas Chopped Salad. 

Audrey tells her friends that she'll miss them, but they'll be back at least once a year to visit. Her dad shows up without her mom. He tells her that she "couldn't bring herself to come, but she sends her love." He adits that he was a little skeptical about the idea at first, but then he talked to an old friend who became small and he and his wife retired in Leisureland and that they're "getting along just fine" and that now he "sees the appeal." I appreciate that they gave at least one character (even though they're off screen) some reservation about this whole procedure. 

Before they head out to Santa Fe, Paul and Audrey have put their wedding rings and a few sentimental photo and letters in a box marked "Keepsakes" and these will be the only things they will keep. When they're small, they can hang the pictures on their walls as huge portraits! 

Once they get to New Mexico, they take a bus from the airport to the facility. There's a closed off section (kind of like a display case) where a bunch of small people are sitting in their small seats. One of the small women (played by Margo Martindale) strikes up a conversation with Paul (who was sort of staring at the small people). When he tells her he's nervous about becoming small, she tells him he shouldn't be, because "it's the best thing you'll ever do." Seriously, does not one person regret becoming small? I find that hard to believe.  

Okay, better put a spoiler warning here, just in case.

Slight spoilers coming up ahead! You have been warned! 

Before they go through with the procedure, they have to answer some legal questions such as "Do you understand of your own free will, you will undergo the permanent and irreversible medical procedure commonly known as 'downsizing', and that following the procedure your bodies will be approximately .0364 percent of their current mass and volume?" They have to give their consent to have this medical procedure and they are also told "that there exists an approximately one in 225,000 chance that the procedure could result in injury, permanent disability, or death." 

They're sitting in the waiting room and Paul's name is called. They both get up, but the nurse tells Audrey that she'll have to wait until her name is called because they separate the men and women. The whole procedure will take about five hours and they'll be reunited in the recovery room. Paul and Audrey hug goodbye and tell each other "I love you" and Audrey watches as Paul walks down the very long hallway with the nurse. It's gotta be a scary thought that the next time you'll see your spouse, they will be complete different. 

The majority of the five hours is spent getting ready for the actual procedure and we are shown a montage as Paul and other men are being prepped. Everyone's head and face is shaven clean, including eyebrows, then they are put under sedation and the rest of the body hair is shaved off. Next, dentists work on teeth to remove any cavities or fillings. When that is done, all the patients are wheeled into a huge machine (there's probably 30 men on gurneys in there) and they are all injected with "downsizing solution" which you must "shake well before use." Now don't get that mixed up with any other kind of solution! The door is shut and secured and the machine is turned on and it only seems like the actual shrinking only takes about a minute! The hell? A few nurses, who have been waiting (cuz they know this doesn't take much time at all!), go in and lift the tiny men off the beds with a spatula-like tool (hell, they probably WERE spatulas) and place them on a cart and they are delivered through a slot where small doctors and nurses are on the other side to finish up the rest which is just pretty much putting in new fillings for their teeth. 

Paul wakes up in the recovery room and the nurse checks up on him and everything seems to be okay. She asks if he's hungry and comes back holding an individually wrapped saltine cracker and of course it's almost as big as she is. (I'm sure they had a lot of fun with the props!) This is just a cute joke she plays on everyone and tells him she'll bring him some real food. Paul asks about his wife and she checks the records where she sees Audrey's name, but she hasn't been transferred over yet. She assumes she's probably still in dental. Now, at this point, it did cross my mind that something happened like maybe Audrey had died during the procedure. But what actually happens makes way more sense to the plot: she didn't die; she never went through with the procedure. Paul finds this out when he receives a phone call from her. We see her at the airport wearing a hat and one of her eyebrows has been shaved off, so it looks like she made it that far, and, as she tells him, she freaked out after they shaved her hair. She came to the realization that she didn't want to leave her friends and family and while she feels awful, she realized she was only doing this because she was trying to make him happy. Look, I don't blame her at all; that is a very big change to undergo, but it's too bad she didn't talk to him about this sooner. It's pretty funny when she tells him she's upset and he replies, "You're upset? I'm the one who's five f***ing inches tall!" 

Paul now has his nice, cushy big small home all to himself. When the keepsake box (which transforms into a storage truck) arrives at his house, a delivery man carries the rings up to his house and it looks like he's carrying two heavy gold hula hoops. 

One evening, Paul is watching BBC World News where the anchor is talking about how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Naturalization Services "have been warning about the ease with which downsized people, from illegal immigrants to potential terrorists, could penetrate U.S. borders." They report a story about how last week at a Target store in Eugene, Oregon, workers "opened a suspicious TV box (there were small holes in one corner) and discovered 17 downsized stowaways from Vietnam, 14 of them already dead, two more dying hours later at a local hospital." The only survivor was a woman named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) who was transferred to the best hospital in Leisureland and doctors had to "amputate a portion of an infected leg". Her condition is "described as fair but stable." Ngoc Lan claims to have been jailed for her "political and environmental activism and was miniaturized against her will in a Vietnamese prison facility." This will all come back later. 

One year has passed and Paul and Audrey are officially divorced and Paul has moved into a nice apartment. He works at call center for Land's End and we see he's not really into the job and snaps at a caller who can't decide what color sweater she wants. The woman tells him, "Don't be short with me!" and he gets offended. 

I think this movie is more interesting when you see small people interacting with normal sized people because then you can see the obvious difference, but when Paul is interacting with other small people, you kind of forget they're all five inches tall...probably because they're just normal sized people in real life! 

Paul starts dating a woman, but it doesn't really go anywhere, so he decides to check out one of the wild parties that are often hosted by his upstairs eccentric European neighbor, Dasan (Christoph Waltz). He introduces his friend, Konrad, who is a sea captain, to Paul. Dusan had been in Paul's apartment earlier and noticed he had a life size rose that he got from the shop that sells life size flowers, so Paul brought it to him as a gift. I do enjoy when they bring in props to show us (and remind us!) that these are tiny people. 

The next morning after the wild party Paul wakes up in Dasan's living room and sees three Vietnamese cleaning ladies come in to tidy up the place. He recognizes one of them as the one found in the box from the news because she's limping. He catches her stealing pills and thinks she's taking them for her leg. She informs him that they're old pills and Dusan allows her to take them; she's taking them for her roommate who is very sick. He offers to help with her prosthetic leg and after looking at her leg, he tells her she has arthritis and if she doesn't do something about it soon she's going to need a new knee. He advises her she need to go to a specialist as soon as she can to get a new foot. In the meantime, he can make adjustments to her exiting prosthetic and give her tips on how to walk better. She tells him when she's done with her cleaning, he can come with her. He says they can do it here, but she wants him to go with her to help her sick friend. He tells her he's not a doctor, but she says she's tried to take her to a clinic, but her friend has to wait too long and she can't find any doctors to help.

So they take a bus that goes through a tunnel and Ngoc Lan takes him to her very crowded and shambled apartment building where she shows Paul her bed ridden and sick roommate. Paul gives her some pills that might ease her comfort, but the next day, we find out she died. This whole plot point was to get a working relationship/friendship started with Paul and Ngoc Lan. He tells her he will help her clean until she has a better prosthetic to walk on. 

Ngoc Lan gathers leftover food from the wealthy people she cleans for (with permission) and takes it back to some of the people who reside at her apartment. 

Two weeks pass and Dusan invites Paul to join him and Konrad to visit the original small colony in Norway. After the party, Paul told Dasan that he met met Little Ronni (remember, he's the first small baby ever to be born and now he's a teenager) who still lives in Norway and how he's always wanted to visit the original small colony. Dasan tells him it's "all right" and he usually goes once or twice a year with Konrad for business. 

Now Paul has his chance to go and when the three men tell Ngoc Lan this, she invites herself along (not what they were expecting!) because she's been invited before because of her story. She had received a letter from Dr. Jorgen Asbjornsen who told her he feels guilty that her becoming small was a bad thing and that he never meant for it to be that way. He had invited her to Norway and she never had the means to get there, but now she has the chance to go there and meet him. 

The next thing we know, they're on a boat in the waters of Norway and Jorgen and Anne-Helene have joined them. They're talking about how methane in Antartica has been released and "it's the end of everything" and that "homo sapiens will soon vanish from the Earth." Paul asks if downsizing is an option for humankind, but Jorgen informs him that only 3% of the population has downsized and there isn't enough time. That's a shockingly low number considering that downsizing has been around for about 16 years. I guess the majority of the population wasn't into it. 

When they get to the first small colony (I can't remember the name of it...Smallville, perhaps? Heh.), Paul and Ngoc Lan are shown a huge tunnel (well huge for small people) that leads to the vault the colony have been workin on "almost since the beginning." They are told "the tunnel leads to a vault 1.6 kilometers (almost one mile) inside the Earth's lithosphere (which is the solid outermost rock shell of the planet...I had to look it up) and is encased in a double layer of Inconel 625" (I have no idea what the f*** that is). There's way too much math and scidene in this movie! Anyway, back to this vault. In it, they will be containing a "broad spectrum of biodiversity, the vault is equipped with fields for growing foods, forest for lumber, livestock for animal husbandry, the residential areas are spacious and easily expandable to provide for future generations." While they are being told about this, there's a monitor with many screens so they can see all this. Everything is lit because of artificial light. The power is 100% geothermal. They have though of everything and it's only possible for them to do this because of their small size. They all will be heading down in the earth's core soon and they will stay down there for 8,000 years (!!!) or "until the surface environment stabilizes." Ugh, no thank you! Paul, however,  thinks this is the best idea ever and he wants to join them. 

He tells Ngoc Lan and he wants her to go with him. By this point, they've developed a somewhat romantic relationship. She refuses and tells him she needs to go back home and take care of the people there.

When it's finally time to go into tunnel (just a few days later), Paul says his goodbyes to Ngoc Lan, Dusan, and Konrad who will all be heading home soon. There's a long line of people going into the tunnel and he's the very last to enter. The only thing he has with him is his suitcase...something tells me he's not going to have enough clothes for this expedition. He runs up to somebody and asks him if they're walking uphill. The guy replies that they are because it prevents flooding. Then he adds a bombshell that Paul wasn't ready for (and thank God he found out about it now!): It's just a few hours climb before they descend to the vault and that entire walk will take eleven hours. Ugh, no thank you! 

Paul looks ahead at the people who are walking towards the vault, then back at the door which is still open, about half a mile away. Two guys are about to shut the door (and once the door shuts, it will be shut for good!) and he starts booking it, yelling at them not to shut it. He barely makes it out (and has to leave his suitcase because it gets stuck) and his three friends are still waiting for him outside. 

Can you imagine if he hadn't gotten that information about the eleven hour walk until one minute later? He might have not made it out in time! Also, how could he not have already known this information before he went? It seemed like this was just a spur-of-the-moment decision he made with no thought behind it whatsoever. Yeah, I'm sure the eleven hour walk didn't seem like a fun time to him, but I feel like if he really wanted to do this, he would have endured i.

They go back home and back to their lives.

This movie was interesting, but not my favorite. It gets pretty preachy at times. Honestly, if you want to watch a movie about people who become small, go see Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. It's much more entertaining, not to mention much shorter (I swear, that was not meant to be a pun!). Not to mention, in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, you are constantly reminded that the kids are small (Anty, Rick Moranis almost eating his son who fell in his Cheerios, the entire backyard, the Lego, etc. etc.), while in Downsizing, I would literally forget that they're supposed to be tiny. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Always a Bridesmaid

27 Dresses
Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Judy Greer 
Released: January 18, 2008
Viewed in theaters: January 24, 2008

This movie sort of reminded me of a weird agglomeration of My Best Friend's Wedding and Runaway Bride. The former because our main character, Jane (Katherine Heigl), has to watch her sister get prepared to marry the man that she (that would be Jane) has been in love with for years and she even tries to sabotage the engagement at one point and the latter because there's a newspaper story angle to this story.

Jane absolutely loves everything about weddings. She loves being there for her friends and helping them prepare for their big day. Uh, why isn't she a wedding planner? This is literally what she was put on this earth to do, but instead she works at some company called Urban Everest that sells outdoor stuff? I'm not sure. She's the assistant for the company's boss, George (Edward Burns), who she's in love with, but he only sees her as a devoted employee and a good friend.  

The beginning of the movie starts with Jane being a bridesmaid at TWO wedding in the same night, so she's taking a taxi back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn all night. Good Lord, when Robin Williams had to pretend to be Mrs. Doubtfire to celebrate a birthday (?...I don't remember) with his family and also be his character for a job interview with that one guy, at least he chose the same restaurant! Well, I don't think he chose it, but he just got lucky that both events were at the same restaurant. Anyway, this girl is crisscrossing across the city several times while changing her dress, shoes, and accessories each time. She hires a taxi for the night and offers the driver $300 for the night, but that seems very low, even for 2008 money. She knocks him down to $140 because he kept looking in his rearview mirror when she was in the backseat changing. While I'm sure he snuck looks when he wasn't supposed to, he is a taxi driver and does need to look in the rearview mirror to do his job. He would have made a lot more money by not being her chauffeur that night! 

At one of the weddings she's at, she catches the eye of a guest named Kevin (James Marsden) who notices that she's looking at her watch while she's standing besides the bride. Later, he will see her get in the cab and start changing.  

When she's back at the same wedding as Kevin, she gets knocked over when she's trying to catch the bouquet and another girl bumps into her and Jane hits her head on the floor. Kevin helps her and this is their "meet cute." He helps her to her cab and rides with her to her home. There's really no reason for him to ride with her except to advance the plot. Having a guy share a taxi with you to your home after you've just met him after hurting you head seems like a very idea but maybe that's just because I listen to too many true crime podcasts! After they introduce themselves to each other and Kevin mentions that he's a writer, he tells her that he saw her changing in the cab and knows she was at another wedding that night. She says two of her good friends happened to get married on the same day and she loves wedding. (She really must love weddings to have to go through all that! I think you just need to choose one wedding to attend and just buy an extra nice gift for the one you missed.) He asks her, "Which part? The forced merriment, the horrible music, or the bad food?" I'm going to hazard a guess that Kevin does not feel the same about weddings as Jane does! Obviously, Jane is not impressed with his disdain for weddings. 

After Jane is dropped off at her apartment and the taxi drives off with Kevin, he sees something on the floor and it's Jane's day planner. Actually, she'll refer to it as her FiloFax later on, a word I was not familiar with. I guess that's a brand name? I will say they do look pretty nice and I kind of want one now even though I would probably never use it! He's about to tell the driver to turn back, but changes his mind. 

At Jane's place, we get a quick glance of the coat closet that holds all of her bridesmaids dresses. Since there are so many of them and a few of them have pouffy skirts, it's almost impossible for her to shut the double doors. There are several hooks on the inside of the doors that hold purses and hats. Her idea of unwinding after a big day is sitting down and reading The New York Journal's "Commitments" section, which is articles about people getting married written by a Malcolm Doyle. The wedding-obsessed Jane loves reading about couples' upcoming nuptials and how they met. 

Well, guess what? The next day we see that Kevin works at The New York Journal. (Do you think it's a mix between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal? Because if you do, you would be totally wrong.) He's Malcolm Doyle. He's the one that writes the romantic and heartfelt stories that Jane loves so much. I do appreciate that the movie doesn't make this some stupid "twist" for the audience to find out later; they tell you who he is in the scene after we see Jane reading that section of the paper. Now, she won't find out for awhile, but for now, the audience knows who he is. Kevin tells his boss he's got a great idea for a story and is hoping it will get him out of writing for the Commitments section because he hates it and wants to be writing "real" stories. His boss agrees and tells him he has one chance to write a story that will impress her. 

At Jane's job, she sees there are a basket of flowers on her desk with no note. She thinks they might be from George. Everyone she works with knows she has it bad for him. Everyone but George that is. 

One of Jane's co-workers/friends, Casey, is played by Judy Greer, and I admit, when I first saw her, I immediately recognized her but I couldn't think of her name! I did eventually remember it a few minutes later, but it made me think of this commercial she was in about a year ago, you know the one where she goes, "What is my name?" I'm sorry that I almost forgot your name, Judy Greer!

Jane's beautiful younger sister, Tess (Malin Ackerman), comes to visit. She's been living in Italy for the past six months where she designs handbags...I think? I'm not sure. All I know she's involved in the fashion industry because she mentions that "the fall fashion shows are done." She's staying with Jane and calls her apartment "tiny and cute" and there's no way that apartment would be considered "tiny" for NYC! 

One of Jane's co-workers (played by Krysten Ritter) is having an engagement party and Jane invites her sister (oh, she's going to regret that), but Tess tells her she's meeting friends, but she might show up later. 

At the party, George asks Jane if she got "that thing" he left on her desk that morning and she gets excited, thinking he's talking about the flowers, but later, she'll realize he was referring to a dry cleaning slip he left on her desk. Ouch. To make matters worse, her beautiful sister with her beautiful blonde hair (damn that Malin Ackerman and her Swedish-born beauty!) comes sauntering in the room in a beautiful dress and catches the eye of George. These guys hit it off fast and I mean fast. Jane sees it happening right in front of her and she is devastated, but she doesn't let it show. It gets even worse when Kevin shows up (since he had her FiloFax, he knew about the engagement party) and asks Jane if she got the flowers. Yeah, I knew they were from him. He returns her FiloFax to her. 

Tess and George go out for drinks and Jane starts cleaning her kitchen at three in the morning because her sister still isn't back yet. When Tess comes back, she barely even notices that her sister is cleaning at an ungodly hour and instead asks her if she thinks it's weird that she went out with her boss and Jane says no even though the way she's acting, she's obviously not okay with it. But her sister is oblivious (her head is in the clouds) and tells her she and George are having lunch tomorrow.

Tess wants to know all about George, so Jane tells her that he dropped out of college and "climbed every peak in the world" which makes sense since he "would rather spend all his time outside than anywhere else." He started his business, Urban Everest, from his apartment and turned it into "one of the most eco-friendly, philanthropic businesses in the world." I still have no idea what exactly the business sells or does, but I'm going to say it sells outdoor camping equipment. He also has a dog that he loves more than anything and doesn't eat red meat. Tess is all dreamy, commenting about how he sounds amazing, but Jane is quick to point out that he also has flaws and cites him hating cashews as one. The hell? How is that a flaw? Another "flaw" is that he doesn't wear socks with sneakers, which is a bit odd, but again, who cares. Tess even points out that those aren't flaws.

They have breakfast with their dad the next morning (I should mention their mother died when they were both younger) and he asks Tess how long she's in town. Jane confirms with her that it's only two weeks, but Tess says "It depends on how a few things pan out." This has Jane a little freaked out and at work, she's in a very bad mood because Tess is also there, flirting with George (who called her that morning) and when Jane flips through her FiloFax, she is annoyed that Kevin has written his name and number in several pages of it. 

George has a "little brother" who he's a Big Brother for named Pedro, who's probably eleven or twelve. When he introduces him to Tess, she says "Hola, Pedro" in a really loud voce even though he literally just spoke English seconds before. George tells Jane that he and Tess are taking Pedro to his baseball game and invites her to join them. She refuses at first, but he insists that she join them, joking that her boss is a jerk.  

At the concession stand, George orders some Cokes and fries and asks them if they want anything else. Jane says she wants a chili dog and asks Tess if she wants one too. Tess says no, replying that she's recently become a vegetarian (probably when she found out George was one!) Of course, this prompts George to tell her that he's a vegetarian too. Tess tells him that every time she goes hiking, she brings her own "homemade tofurky jerky". While all this is going on, Jane is making a WTF face. Probably because she knows her sister isn't a vegetarian and doesn't like the outdoors. George tells her that she doesn't seem like "the kind of girl that hits the trails" and I get it because she wears heels and always has her hair and make up done and is usually wearing outfits that aren't exactly for the great outdoors. She tells him that she loves "all the outdoorsy type of stuff" and I laughed when when she said "like hiking an biking and climbing...up things." 

We next get a montage of George and Tess getting closer and Jane having to witness all of it. One evening, before leaving work, Jane notices that George forgot his wallet (it's on his desk under a bunch of papers) and she looks at his schedule and sees he's at a restaurant. She takes a taxi there and when she walks in, there's roses on a table and two waiters lift up a sign that says "Will you marry me?" George comes out and tells them to put the sign down because "she's not the one." Ouch! Then Tess walks in at that moment and the sign goes back up and George's dog comes out with the ring box around its neck and George starts to propose. Jane is trying to get the hell out of there (I don't blame her!), but a band comes out and starts playing and they're blocking her path. It's all so awkward. Even if Jane didn't have feelings for George, it would still be incredibly awkward as she's sort of unwillingly become part of this proposal. You would think George would thank her for bringing his wallet, then wait for her to leave before he started his proposal to Tess. The restaurant appears to be empty, so he must have rented it out for the evening. 

Things start happening pretty fast. Tess tells Jane that Malcolm Doyle (and we all know who he really is!) wants to do a Commitments column on her and George. We also find out they're getting married in three weeks! This seems insane because that's probably the amount of time they've known each other, if that! This is because Tess wants to get married at the Boathouse in Central Park because that's where her and Jane's parents got married. She had called several times and there was no availability for eighteen months, but on the ninth time she called, she got lucky because there was a cancellation hence the reason the wedding is in three weeks. 

While Jane is with the newly engaged couple to order a cake at a bakery, Kevin comes in and Jane asks what he's doing there. He introduces himself to the couple as Malcolm Doyle and Jane is surprised (but not the audience!) She is super mortified when Tess introduces her (Jane) to Malcolm and tells him she's "obsessed" with his stories and that she's his "number one fan." When asked why he said his name was Kevin, he tells her that is his name and he uses Malcolm for the byline so he doesn't "get stalked by the crazy brides." Jane is not happy because he's been lying to her this whole time. She takes him aside to tell him this; he replies that he told her he was a writer but didn't tell her what he wrote. Jane doesn't understand because he writes "the most beautiful things." She asks him, "Do you actually believer in love and marriage and just pretend to be a cynic, or are you actually a cynic who knows how to spin romantic crap for girls like me." He tells it's the latter which probably just enrages her even more! 

Later, Kevin comes over to Jane's place and tells her he has to interview the friends and family of the engaged couple. (You would think he call to make this appointment or ask her to set up a time for an interview when he saw her at the bakery). Jane isn't too thrilled to talk to him, but agrees to do it for her sister. When he asks how she feels about Tess's "whirlwind romance", she tells him she couldn't be happier. 

It doesn't take long before he sees the closet full of her bridesmaid dresses. (Well, it's not that hard since the doors won't stay shut!) He is flabbergasted that she kept them all and when asked why (something I'm sure every viewer was wondering), she replies, "I have a lot of friends and I like to keep them." WTF? This makes no sense. I'm sure she has pictures of her in these dresses next to the bride; isn't that enough for her? Why is she keeping all these dresses (many she'll never wear again) in a pretty good-sized closet where she would keep other, more practical things like coats and shoes and boots and umbrellas and cold-weather gear. Hell, she could even keep a vacuum in there if she wanted! Why not give them to a consignment shop? That's what my mom did after I wore the dress the one time I was a bridesmaid. Holding on to all of these dresses is just weird and unhealthy and does Jane have a therapist? Because maybe she needs one. Now, if she had been a bridesmaid only once, maybe twice, even three times, I wouldn't really blink about her keeping her dresses, but twenty-seven? TWENTY F***ING SEVEN dresses? The hell? (Well, technically I guess it's 26 because the 27th will come in play later).

Kevin sarcastically tells her it makes sense she would want to keep all of them because they're so beautiful. She replies that they're not that bad and he wants to see one that's "not that bad". She picks out an olive green dress which he thinks the color is "vomit". She says the bride told her it would look good on anyone and into his recorder (in front of her, no less!), he states that she's "slightly delusional and will believe anything anybody tells her." She tells him she's going to show him he's wrong and goes to her bridegroom to change into the dress.

While she's gone he snaps a few photos of all the dresses in the closet and takes one of her when she comes back. He admit the dress itself isn't that bad, but thinks the color is still awful. 

Guess what happens next? Of course it's a montage of Jane in all the dresses! At first, I was going to do something insane and count all the dresses to see if there were indeed twenty-seven (or twenty-six) and I was even going to take notes on some of the dresses, but then I realized, I bet someone already did that for me. And I was right. Some dresses are worse than others and some are just god awful. They must have had Katherine Heigl try on all the dresses and take pictures of her in them because you see Kevin going through his camera and see all the pictures of her in the different dresses. We also see some flashbacks of her at the weddings, mostly theme weddings like where she's riding a horse in a cowgirl getup or underwater in scuba gear. Who the hell gets married underwater? I mean, besides a mermaid? 

Jane has a lot of fun trying on all the dresses. She tells Kevin she doesn't mind wearing the dresses because she knows it means a lot to the bride and she wants to make her friends happy and she knows when it's her big day, they'll be there for her too. Hmm, could this be foreshadowing? (Yes, it totally is.)

Kevin's boss asks him how his article is going and he tells her he's still working on it. She reads what he has so far and likes it and wants to run it next Sunday on the front page of the section. He wants to hold it a week because he's not quite done with it and tells his boss that Jane is more than "a perpetual bridesmaid" and that "there's a lot more to her than that." He asks for another week and his boss agrees. 

A few things are revealed in the next couple of scenes. We find out that Kevin is cynical about marriage because he was once married and his wife left him for his college roommate. Actually, Jane randomly guesses that for the reason why he hates marriage and turns out she was right! We really don't get too much about this backstory. 

Also, Kevin finds out that Jane is in love with her sister's fiancĂ©. Jane is meeting George to go over the menu and Kevin needs to talk to Jane about something and he finds out where she is, so he sees her chatting and laughing with George. I don't know if I would surmise that she's in love with him just because they're enjoying each other's company, but whatever, I guess they need it for the sake of the plot. Before Kevin had arrived and interrupted them, George was telling Jane how much he admires Tess because "she's not afraid to be herself" which we all know is a lie! You can tell Jane wants to tell him that everything Tess has told him is pretty much a lie (she's not a vegetarian, she's not a dog person, and she's not a girl who loves the outdoors!), but she just tells him that she's happy that he and Tess found each other. 

After Kevin shows up, he offers to go with Jane to pick up linens or something. George was supposed to go, but he's gotta meet his parents and yada, yada, yada, they movie just needs an excuse for Jane and Kevin to be in the same car together and that's how they got there. While they're driving, a heavy rainstorm has started. Kevin is goading her about George and tells her he knew she had a thing for her sister's fiancĂ© "the second I saw you mooning over him over polenta." Jane denies this, but he keeps egging her on and she gets angry and soon the car runs off the road and spins around and falls into a muddy ditch by a tree. They're unharmed but there's no way they'll be able to get the car out of the ditch. Then end up at a karaoke bar where they have a drink (and maybe a few more) and start dancing on the bar while singing "Benny and the Jets." After they get down from the bar, Kevin admits to her that he "cried like a baby during the Keller wedding" and this makes Jane passionately kiss him. Earlier at the bar, while having their first drink, she was quizzing him on the articles he wrote about the couples he interviewed and he tells her he didn't remember that particular one. They end up making out, then return to the car where they have sex. Okay, ten bucks says he didn't cry at all during that wedding, but just told her because he knew it would score points with her. Yes, maybe I really just am that cynical! 

The next morning they grab breakfast at a diner while they wait for a tow truck to get the car. Some guy comes up to them and remembers them as "Benny and the Jets" from the night before. The waitress pours their coffee and tells Jane, "You're that girl." Jane thinks the's referring to the karaoke bar, but she's actually referring to seeing her in the paper as Kevin's article has come out one week earlier then he expected. Guess his boss didn't listen to him after all! It's a full page article with many pictures (if not all!) of Jane and her many bridesmaid dresses. The caption reads "Always, Always, Always a Bridesmaid." Kevin tries to explain he told his editor not to run it and that nobody reads that section anyway. Jane is pissed and walks away, but not before slapping him. When she comes home, Tess is there and she's also read the article. She's furious because Kevin wrote, "If Jane is the prototypical accommodating bridesmaid, than her sister, Tess, is cast as the overbearing, overindulged bride-to-be, who at any moment one worries might start stomping around Manhattan, berating fire and swatting planes from the sky." Hmm, have we seen any evidence of this? Tess may be a bit high-maintenance, but I wouldn't compare her to a Bridezilla. 

Kevin tries to call Jane many times to apologize, but she won't answer his calls. Not only is Jane angry at him, but she's also angry at her sister when she finds out that, in a very Pretty in Pink move, she has cut up their mother's dress (which her father said she could wear) and used parts of it in her new, more modern dress. Jane is furious that she did that and goes off on her, telling her that she's going to have to tell George the truth about her. 

It just so happens that the couple's engagement party is that night and Jane had the responsibility of creating the slideshow. Tess had given her a script to read during it and wants to make sure that Jane reads it word for word and Jane promises her she will. Tess must think very highly of herself as this is the opening line she wrote for her sister to read: "Tess and George are a perfect couple. No, a divine couple. A couple whose love is the stuff of myths. Their compatibility is so exact that is can only be described as having been designed by the gods." 

Jane is true to her word and reads what Tess wrote to her, but she has picked photos of her sister that aren't the most flattering. Not that she doesn't look good in them, but while the photos of George show him volunteering at a soup kitchen or visiting the UN, the pictures of Tess are of her flirting with boys or wearing a bikini for a car wash or stuffing her face with barbecue ribs. 

Jane ends with the words Tess wrote for her to read: "And today Tess and George still share the same values. Their love is based on a deep understanding and acceptance of who the other person really is."

Things get worse when Casey tries to clear this awkward moment by shooing Jane away and inviting Pedro up to say a few words. He mentions how great George is as his Big Brother and how happy he is that George has Tess who he calls "really cool" because she's going to help him "start [his] own cleaning business." In an earlier scene, Jane had gone to George's apartment where her sister was staying. George was gone for the day and when Jane comes over, she hears a vacuum, and then sees Pedro vacuuming. Tess tells Jane that she's paying him to clean the apartment, but wants to keep it a secret. Guess Pedro was so excited about his new business that he couldn't keep his mouth shut! Boy, George was not happy about that! I think he (maybe) could have forgiven Tess for lying about being a vegetarian, but her exploiting Pedro like that definitely wasn't a good look. 

To no one's surprise, the wedding is off and when Tess tells this to Jane, she adds, "I hope you're happy." (For the record, she isn't, but let's be real, I bet she's a little relieved that her younger sister isn't marrying her boss).  Jane goes outside, upset, and Kevin is there to apologize since she won't answer his calls. He apologizes and says he wanted to be there for her because he knew this night was gonna be rough for her and tells her he thinks she "deserves to be taken care of for a change." It's a sincere apology and he also gifts her with a Blackberry. He tells her it's "so [she] doesn't have to carry around the crazy FiloFax from 1987." Considering you can still buy FiloFaxes in 2024, I very much doubt hers is from '87! Also, maybe she preferred to carry it around and it's just easier for her to write things down then type it down. I get he meant well, but he shouldn't have just assumed she would have wanted a new phone.  

The sisters talk and Tess tells Jane that she stayed in New York because she was fired from her job (still not exactly sure what she did) and her Italian boyfriend dumped her. As she tells Jane, when she met George, he was nice to her and treated her well and she "wanted to be someone that he wanted"; she "was trying to be someone who deserved him, someone he could respect." She basically tells Jane she was trying to be her. 

Later that day, Jane gets a call from George who asks her to be his date to some benefit thing (since he no longer has a significant other in his life!) that really doesn't matter. This scene is just so she can apologize to him for what she did during the slide show. It's also so she can quit her job and confess that the only reason she stayed was because she was in love with him. They end up kissing (twice) and realize neither of them feels sparks for the other. Can you imagine kissing someone that you liked and they didn't feel anything for you? Ouch. But luckily, these two kids' feelings are mutual. I did't like this scene. I get why Jane quits, but I don't know why we need to see them kiss. I guess this is just to show the audience that these two aren't meant for each other. Well, duh. It just seems so unnecessary when we know she's going to end up with Kevin, if anyone. 

Speaking of which...they get together and one year passes and the movie ends with their wedding. I've heard some people on podcast reviews of this movie complain that it doesn't make sense that the anti-marriage Kevin would want to get married. Well, he was burned by his first wife, but then he met Jane and his views on love and marriage changed. That's the story I'm going with anyway. 

The 27th dress is Jane's wedding dress. Remember when I said it was foreshadowing when Jane told Kevin that her friends would there for her big day just like she was there for theirs? Well, we see Tess and Casey as her bridesmaids in strapless pale yellow dresses, then the camera pans out and we see a line of women wearing all of her bridesmaid dresses. I assume they're all the brides of which the original bridesmaid dress was worn at their wedding and now Jane is getting back at them for making her wear these horrendous dresses  returning the favor and letting them be in her wedding. After they show Tess and Casey, we see Krysten Ritter and she's wearing the black goth dress with the spiky collar which is the dress Jane wore when she was a bridesmaid for her wedding. 

I am a little confused by a couple of things:

1. I Googled a still shot of this scene and counted the bridesmaid dresses. There are 27, not counting Tess's and Casey's. I thought Jane's wedding dress was supposed to be the 27th so shouldn't there only be 26 women modeling 26 dresses? I looked at two rankings of the 27 dresses and both of them had Jane's wedding dress as #1 so they're counting the wedding dress as one of the titular 27 dresses. I suppose if I took the time, I could look at the photo and see which dress wasn't part of the ranking, but, yeah, I'm not gonna do that. 

2. After Jane quits her job and before she reconciles with and starts dating Kevin, we see her clean out her closet and throw away her dresses! At least, I assume she threw them away because she's stuffed them into several trash bags. I guess she could have given them to a consignment shop, but I would think she would put them in garment bags if she did that. So if she threw them out, how did these women wear her dresses? Did they have to go out and buy a replica of them? Did she go digging through the trash? (I highly doubt that!) Or did the movie just forget that scene or just not care?