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WEDDING IN A WAR ZONE

    New York City; the Melting Pot; Gotham; the Big Apple; the Capitol of the World.
    It's big, brassy, noisy, exciting, expensive, and absolutely irresistible to movie producers, especially the ones who want to destroy it. Since King Kong shinnied up the Empire State Building in 1933, Hollywood moguls with big budgets have hit the metropolis with every  imaginable (well, maybe not yet)cataclysm.
    I suppose it's a tribute to the resilience of the American spirit, if not its ghoulishness, that we've recovered enough from the real horrors of 9-11 to once again relish on-screen images of the Big Apple in Big Trouble. Currently screening are no fewer than three films set in New York, and two of them are not kind to the place.
    As we've remarked, the retrovirus in “I Am Legend” has depopulated the city, except for Will Smith, Rin-Tin-Tin, and some hyperkinetic zombies.
    “Cloverfield” pits the usual military forces of bazookas and tanks (and where do they stable the tanks in Manhattan?) against a monster. I call it “a monster” because it's big and mean and we don't know anything else about it except that it drops little monsters that are kind of spidery and crabby and toothy. The movie is told entirely, and I mean entirely, through the images of a recovered video camera, formerly wielded by a Bud Light kinda guy who, instead of throwing it down and running for his life, filmed his friends' reactions to the whole attack. If you liked the headache you got from the hand-held camera in “Blair Witch Project” you're going to love this movie. (Memo to “Cloverfield” producers: there's a reason every monster movie has a scene with scientists and generals in a bunker filled with blinking computers, trying to find out what It is, where It came from, and how to stop It. That's because THE AUDIENCE WANTS TO KNOW TOO.)
    Fortunately, the third Manhattan-based movie this summer is what's technically known as a Chick Flick. That means there are no monsters, serial killers, gun battles, or car chases. It's called “27 Dresses,” and it's a charmer.
    Katherine Heigl, who was badly mismatched in “Knocked Up,” plays Jane, a savvy but unpretentious urban professional who has been maid of honor at the weddings of 27 of her closest friends. She hasn't given up on the idea of traipsing up the aisle herself, she's just waiting for her boss to ask her, because she's had a secret crush on him for just ever. On cue, two people arrive in Jane's life at just the wrong/right time.
    The first is her kid sister Tess, a bombshell who puts all the right moves on the boss and ends up engaged to him in about a nanosecond. Tess is played by Malin Akerman, an authentic Swedish blond. (She really is from Stockholm, and in her spare time fronts a rock band called Ozono. Good grief.) Edward Burns plays the boss in ways that give new depth to the term stolid; the poor sap doesn't stand a chance.
    The second arrival is James Marsden as Kevin, a wedding columnist who hates weddings so much he writes under an assumed name. He is really, truly smitten with Jane, but she can't see past his  cynicism and museum-quality cheekbones to the lonely little boy underneath.
    If this all sounds queasily smarmy and sentimental, it would be except for three things. First, Anne Fletcher's direction: she hasn't directed a whole lot of movies, but she has done a huge amount of work as a choreographer, and it shows here in the light touch, the fluid camerawork, the  quick but not choppy cutting, and the real care she takes with her actors. And she makes New York look like a really nice place.
    Second, Aline Brosh McKenna wrote the script. She was the  screenwriter for “The Devil Wears Prada,” and though this is a much sweeter story, the dialogue flashes a lot of the same edgy wit.
    Third is Judy Greer as Jane's sidekick Casey; she's fresh, smart, impudent, and funny, and her scenes are wisely kept to a minimum, because she could easily steal the whole show from the two female leads. 
    And the movie's final shot is a nice surprise, even though it's been set up from the very beginning.