27 DRESSES (12A) (All major cinemas)

LAST year’s comedy hit Knocked Up may have its detractors but the universal view was that it finally gave the under-rated talents of Katherine Heigl a chance to shine.

And that success has provided her with a long overdue chance to take the lead in her own movie – and once again critics are waxing lyrical about how wonderful she is in an otherwise dodgy picture.

The main problem here is not the crudity that sometimes jarred in Knocked Up but the sheer conformity of a picture which sets out to tick every box in the rom com formula.

Heigl plays an utterly adorable and extraordinarily selfless best pal to more than two dozen female friends all of whom have previously asked her to be their bridesmaid.

Trouble is, of course, time is a-ticking and Heigl begins to wonder whether she will eternally be the bridesmaid never the bride.

This concern grows when the man she secretly adores, her boss Edward Burns, falls for the rather obvious charms of Heigl’s sexy sister Malin Akerman and guess who is asked to be bridesmaid at their wedding!

Adding a little spice to this mix is James Marsden as a society wedding columnist in search of a new story and there is actually some genuine uncertainty over who our heroine will eventually end up with.

But this is Heigl’s show and she positively shines in the spotlight of a lead role of which there are likely to be a lot more in the near future.


DRILLBIT TAYLOR (12A) (All major cinemas)

OWEN Wilson made headlines last year after a suicide attempt and this is the first of his films to be released since that episode. It may be a good idea to shield him from the reviews it is attracting as they certainly won’t aid his recovery.

Some have even suggested it has been the choice of comedies such as this one which contributed to his state of mind as once again he is expected to use his talents to bolster a piece of work where you get the feeling only he is trying to achieve anything half decent.

He must have thought he was on safe ground with Knocked Up duo Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen in producer and co-writer roles respectively. If so, he was wrong.

Wilson is a homeless good guy who agrees to bodyguard three desperate high school nerds who are being bullied at school.

Typical of the film’s misjudgments is the fact that one of the bullies is so psychotically disturbed he would fit into either the Hostel or Saw franchises without any character tweaking.


THE HOTTIE AND THE NOTTIE (12A) (All major cinemas)

THERE are times when it is difficult to know whether a movie is going to be worth your time, effort and expense.

And there are times when simply hearing ‘The Hottie and The Nottie starring Paris Hilton’ is all the clue you need to know this is something to avoid like the plague of paparazzi its over-indulged star so shamelessly courts.

Hilton – who also co-produced - plays the ‘hottie’ whom every male on screen drools over.

The arrogance of the flick extends to borrowing a plot device from Shakespeare with Hilton refusing to succumb to the advances of Joel David Moore unless he can find someone willing to date her disgusting best pal Christine Lakin for whom personal hygiene is as alien as modesty and discretion are to Hilton.

A picture solely for those who want to see its star flaunt herself in a bikini.


FIRST SUNDAY (12A) (All major cinemas)

MUCH has been said and written of Ice Cube’s transition from dangerous rapper in the 80s to cuddly star of family movies in the first decade of the 21st century.

This is a somewhat misguided attempt to reconcile both sides of that image as he plays essentially a nice guy who decides to team up with pal Tracy Morgan to stage an armed robbery at a church!

It all goes wrong and ends up as a hostage situation which gives everyone involved a chance to bond and share life experiences but the different tones were just never likely to mesh successfully.


SON OF RAMBOW (12A) (All major cinemas; Wednesday preview)

BRITISH comedy which has been generating some good early word of mouth for its simple, charming story about two 11 year olds growing up in 1980s England and the influence Sylvester Stallone’s action hero had on their lives. Wednesday previews take place ahead of next Friday’s release.