NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Ann who says..."Excellent chemistry between Katherine Heigl and James Marsden makes this an above-average entry in the chick-flick oeuvre. Enjoy!"
In 1986, Jane (8) and her sister Tess (1 or 2 years younger) are at their cousin’s wedding the bridesmaids are in hideous pastel satin gowns. The girls are escorted by their loving Dad Hal (Brian Kerwin), who is distracted and saddened by his wife’s recent death. When Jane takes Tess to the ladies’ room, the girls find the bride freaking out at a tear in the back of her dress. She apologizes to Jane for swearing in front of her, but Jane says it’s OK they have cable. She then ingeniously fixes the dress with the pretty purple sash from Tess’s dress.
The bride adoringly thanks Jane for saving the day we hear the adult Jane (Katherine Heigl) in voice-over stating that this was the day she fell in love with weddings.
Today, NYC The adult Jane tries on a white strapless wedding dress. The salesgirl tells her she looks stunning. Jane smiles and then fields a cell call from the bride she’s pinch-hitting for the last-minute fitting because both girls are the same size.
At the wedding, the bride thanks her repeatedly and profusely for taking care of everything. Jane assures her it’s fine we get the feeling this is something she says a lot. The bride says how lovely Jane looks in her dress and offers her the age-old platitude given to bridesmaids everywhere - “You can shorten it and wear it again!” “So true,” Jane nods.
Jane’s best girlfriend Casey (Judy Greer) is also a bridesmaid, but exhibits none of Jane’s enthusiasm her updo is sloppy, but Jane assures her that she’ll fix it.
At the reception, Jane rushes out and hails a cab. She promises the driver $300 for a night’s work, but warns him that every time he sneaks a look into the backseat, it will cost him $20. The driver takes off and we see his eyes widen as Jane starts to change her dress in the cab.
Turns out she’s pulling double duty she’s also a bridesmaid for another girlfriend that night. Her 2nd dress is a very pretty red/orange Indian-style dress complete with a bindi on her forehead.
We see a montage of Jane rushing back and forth all night between the 2 weddings with neither bride catching on. At both weddings, she smiles, laughs, watches the cake being cut and, of course, does both the Macarena and the Electric Slide.
Kevin (James Marsden), a reporter for the New York Journal, has noticed Jane ducking between the 2 receptions and watches her bemusedly. Jane comes back to the cocktail reception with her bindi from her sari outfit still on her forehead and quickly removes it when a fellow bridesmaid asks her what it is.
During the bouquet toss, Jane is sideswiped by an overeager singleton and falls to the floor, smacking her head. When she comes to, Kevin is watching over her. She can tell him her name but is very wobbly, so he takes her to her cab.
Exiting the cab, Jane pays her share of the fare, minus the money the driver lost for sneaking looks at her while she was changing. He’s down to $160 “You know what you did,” Jane tells him.
As Kevin sees her off, he hands her a large flower arrangement (her favor from the reception) and expresses scorn for the multi-billion wedding industry and how they sucker affianced people’s money from them. Jane expresses scorn at his scorn and brusquely says goodnight.
In the cab, Kevin finds Jane’s Filofax on the floor, filled to overflowing with scraps of paper and notes about weddings she’s been/will be in.
Jane and Casey meet up at work the next day. Jane looks polished, while Casey is wearing a “walk of shame” outfit - the black pants of the groomsman she hooked up with and his white tux shirt belted with the sash from her bridesmaid dress.
Jane is the assistant for handsome George (Edward Burns) he runs an eco-friendly company and has apparently climbed every major mountain peak on Earth. Jane is out of her mind in love with him, but he has no idea. When George thanks her for a breakfast burrito by cavalierly saying “That’s why I love ya,” (stress on YA, not YOU), Jane sighs quietly behind his back, “I love you too,” earning a slap right across the chops from Casey for being a Wishy-Washy Wendy.
She’s also a people-pleaser/pushover. When the bored Goth-esque receptionist says that she has not done any of the admin tasks Jane requested, Jane just says she’ll take care of it herself, and even promises to come to Goth Girl’s engagement party that night.
Jane has worked hard to put together a gorgeous company catalogue/brochure with outdoorsy shots, but when George carelessly naysays them, Jane just says she’ll redo it.
Jane gets gorgeous flowers at work with no card, and thinks/hopes they might be from George.
That afternoon, Jane picks up her little sister Tess (Malin Ackerman) from the airport. Casey teased her for not sending a cab/livery service, but Jane wanted to do it herself. Tess has grown up blonde, self-assured and model-beautiful, complete with a gorgeous Italian boyfriend and a glamorous, jet-setting life in Europe. The girls embrace and are thrilled to see each other.
As Jane lugs Tess’s suitcases into the apartment (Tess only carries her hand luggage), Jane asks how long she’s staying and is told 1 or 2 weeks. They gaze at their parent’s wedding picture and marvel at how beautiful their mother (deceased) was. Jane is crazy about their mom’s wedding dress and the fact that their folks married in a simple boathouse ceremony, but Tess thinks the dress is too old-fashioned.
Kevin (James Marsden) is at work at the NY Journal. He HATES covering weddings “If I have to write the words ‘baby’s breath’ one more time, I’m gonna shoot myself”. He’s willing to do anything for a transfer/promotion, but his boss won’t have it, at least not yet.
That night, Jane and Casey are at a bar it’s Goth Girl’s engagement do. George comes over and eyes the huge pile of presents Jane assures him that she bought Goth Bride a present on his behalf. He thanks her and offers the girls a refill on their drinks they decline.
George asks if she got “that thing” he left on her desk at work he hopes it’s OK, since they’ve “never had that kind of relationship”. When he leaves, Jane just about swoons and dies because she thinks that HE sent her the lovely flowers.
Casey scolds Jane yet again for her lack of backbone and says that (paraphrase) nothing ventured, fortune favors the brave, yada yada just GET OVER THERE and tell him how she feels so that her happiness can start - “Night of drunken sex, pregnancy, shotgun wedding and a life of bliss.” Jane smiles nervously and heads across the bar to confess her love - just as Tess, dressed to kill in a yellow minidress, enters the party and finds George. Tess had said she didn’t want to come to Jane’s work party, but has crashed it anyway.
Tess and George connect instantly and smile dopily at each other as Jane introduces them. Jane is very flustered and refers to him as “my George” instead of “my boss”. G and T are too besotted with each other to notice.
Jane feels like a knife’s been plunged into her gut as George, praising her helpfulness, tells Tess that Jane is so accommodating that she even picked up his laundry. Turns out he left a DRY-CLEANING SLIP, not flowers, on her desk that morning.
George and Tess go off for a drink. Jane, crushed, turns to find Kevin Doyle (cute writer she met at the wedding) standing there. Turns out he sent her the flowers. Jane politely asks him to hold her drink and walks out to the alley behind the bar. She takes a deep breath…and LOSES it, banging her purse on the brick wall and screaming “MOTHER-&^%$*%!” (Her obscenity is drowned out by the music and no one in the bar hears her, though Kevin sees her).
Jane is embarrassed when she finds that the guests at a Golden anniversary party in the restaurant next door have witnessed her outburst. She just smiles sweetly, congratulates them and heads back inside. At the bar, Tess invites George to go dancing. Jane drops hints that they (she and Tess) should leave, but George wants to go dancing and offers Jane a 3rd-wheel invite. She declines and goes home.
When Tess gets back to the apartment at 3:00 am, Jane is up scrubbing the stove she couldn’t sleep wondering/dreading what G and T were up to. Tess rhapsodizes over how dreamy George is, asks Jane if she minds them being together and wants to know all about him. Jane says NO, it’s not weird for her boss and sister to be together, and waxes affectionately about George, who is a vegetarian and animal lover who’s crazy about Gatsby, his dog. He’s also and very outdoorsy. Turns out, Tess is NONE of these things.
Tess teases Jane about a packet of wedding articles she’s clipped and saved from the NY journal. Jane is addicted to the wedding section of the paper and LOVES the writing style of Malcolm Doyle, who covered these weddings.
Kevin gives Jane the Filofax she dropped in the cab the night they met. Jane is thrilled to have it back. Kevin has pulled 3 cheeky moves with her Filofax-
a) He’s ripped out a whole week from it and challenges Jane to see how she can get through 7 days without every minute of her life planned out. He tells her that they have modern-day gadgets like Blackberries that can do all these things.
b) He teases her about how many times she’s been a bridesmaid.
c) He’s written his name on every single Saturday of her Filofax. He invites her out for a meal Jane says that gee, she’d love to, but she can’t schedule it that week as he’s ripped that calendar out of her book. Jane and Kevin clearly like each other, but Jane is still crazy for George.
Jane wears a tight black outfit as a bridesmaid for Goth Girl. She grins at Tess and George and gives them a “rock on” hand signal from the altar, but they’re too busy smooching to notice her.
Jane and Tess go to their father’s Mom and Pop-esque hardware store to have breakfast with him. Dad is thrilled to see Tess, embracing and fawning all over her, but doesn’t even kiss Jane hello. Jane seems to take this in stride. They have face pancakes for breakfast apparently a family tradition, and Tess loves ‘em.
Pedro, a sweet 12-year old boy who’s George’s little brother (from the Big Brothers reach-out program) comes to the office. He and Jane hug they’re old friends. When George introduces Tess, she makes a fool of herself by shouting “Hola, Pedro” at the kid.
G, T and Jane go to Pedro’s baseball game. They order snacks, and Tess’s duplicitousness starts to rear its ugly head she turns down a hot dog, reminisces about how much she loved the family dog and rhapsodizes about her love of rock climbing and all things outdoors. These are all lies, which Jane furiously points out as soon as George goes to play ball. Tess is not a vegetarian, she HATED their dog (she couldn’t even remember its name) and she’s never been rock climbing in her life. Tess is shameless and just claims that she can and will change to please George.
Cue a montage of Tess and George getting closer and stuck together like Superglue giggling, being schmoopy at work, etc. They even make out on Jane’s couch in broad daylight. When Jane comes in and sees them, she just sadly turns around and leaves her own apartment to give them privacy.
Jane assures all and sundry (Kevin, Casey, etc) that she’s just thrilled her boss and baby sister found each other. She’s fooling no one who knows how she really feels about George.
Jane’s Pain has just begun. When Jane follows George into a restaurant after work because he left his wallet at the office, a band starts playing and a banner reading “Marry Me!” is unfolded. Of course, it’s all for Tess, and Jane covers her hurt when Tess walks in a moment later. George tells Tess that he always wanted to find a girl he could look at the way his father looked at his mother and, gosh darn it, she’s it. Tess tearfully accepts his proposal while Jane can’t even make a hasty exit the musicians are blocking her way.
She congratulates the lovebirds and sucks it up when her father profusely thanks George for giving Jane a job and getting Tess to stay in NYC. Jane’s heart hits rock bottom when Dad brings out their mother’s wedding dress and gives it to Tess to get married in. Tess, who earlier expressed disdain for the dress, cries, “Thank you, Daddy,” while Jane bleeds internally.
Kevin has been assigned to cover G and T’s wedding for the paper. Tess is tickled at the prospect of all the media attention this will bring. Jane is happy enough to see him until she realizes that Malcolm Doyle is Kevin’s nom de plume. HE wrote all the wedding articles Jane loves so much. She is aghast and can’t understand how someone who hates weddings so much can write so beautifully about them. "I feel like I just found out my favorite love song was written about a sandwich," she says. Kevin just shrugs and gets details from G and T about their wedding.
The wedding is in only 3 weeks, but Tess still wants the whole shebang, including a fancy cake and a PowerPoint slideshow that she wants Jane to coordinate. She even gives Jane a script/narration for the slideshow and tells her NOT to deviate from it. Tess wants Jane’s gal pal Casey to be a bridesmaid, because other women don’t like her (wonder why). And, of course, she wants to get married in the boathouse, just like their parents did which was always Jane’s dream wedding. In other words, she’s taken Jane’s dream dress, wedding locale and man, and is also demanding that Jane organize the wedding from soup to nuts, including flowers, invitations and food.
At their yoga class, Casey is disgusted with Tess and refers to as a “selfish w&*)#”. “You cannot plan your sister’s wedding to the man you love,” she tells Jane. She’s appalled when Jane asks her to be Tess’s bridesmaid and says hell NO. The yoga class members glare at Casey for talking, but she breezes them off with, “Nameste.” She relents when Jane begs her, but says that if Tess crosses her, she’ll kick her ass.
Kevin comes over to Jane’s apartment the lovely bride’s not there, but he says he came to see her.
Unbeknownst to her, Kevin is writing an always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride expose on Jane for the paper he’s hoping a flashy story with reader pull will help to get him front-page coverage/a promotion.
Jane sarcastically asks him why he hates weddings so much did his own wife leave him or something? Bingo, Kevin says quietly. Jane’s face falls as Kevin tells her that his wife did indeed run off with his best friend from college, and that he’s been sceptical of weddings ever since.
Jane shows Kevin the closet that is bursting at the seams with all of her 27 bridesmaid outfits, complete with matching bags and shoes. Given that it’s NYC and her apartment ain’t huge, Kevin is shocked that she hasn’t chucked them and made better use of the closet space.
Jane says that she’s been happy to support her friends, and that when her turn comes, she’s sure they’ll do the same for her. Besides, she had a great time in them and that they’re not all THAT bad well, OK, MOST of them are. She models the dresses for him. He takes a picture of her in all of them, some of which were from theme weddings. They include
A Cowgirl outfit, a Kimono, a revealing mini-dress, a Gone with the Wind hoopskirt nightmare, a vomit-olive green cocktail gown, a bathing suit from an under-water wedding and other ruffled taffeta monstrosities.
When Jane goes to George’s apartment, she finds an uncomfortable Tess. Jane knows George is in Telluride and when she hears a male voice, she pushes her way in to find Pedro, George’s Little Brother, vacuuming the place. He cheerfully tells Jane that Tess is going to help him start a housecleaning business. He doesn’t find anything wrong with this, but Jane is mortified. Tess begs her not to tell George.
When she next sees George, Jane doesn’t tell him she just eats a sample wedding meal with him to help pick the menu (Tess is at the spa). Kevin shows up and looks leery when he sees Jane with her boss/future brother in law. He guesses that she has feelings for him.
As they drive back to the city that night through pouring rain, Kevin confronts Jane with this and will not let up. Driving way too fast, she finally screams at him to shut up. He warns her that the car’s going to hydroplane, and indeed it does right off the road. They’re unhurt, but the car is stuck in the mud in the middle of an empty field in upstate NY.
Jane and Kevin, soaking wet, go into a bar to have a drink and warm up. Kevin tells her that there’s no way they’re getting the car fixed or getting home tonight, and to relax. After several shots, she does. Jane describes her favorite part of a wedding. At the moment the bride enters and all turn to admire her, Jane looks at the groom, and adores the expression on his face as he looks at the woman he loves. She also tells Kevin about her favorite wedding article of his (from 2006) and claims that he only puts on a cynical façade to appear sexy. Kevin teases her that it’s OK that she thinks he’s sexy. She “whatevers” him until Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” comes on the jukebox.
Jane and Kevin tipsily sing along, arguing about the lyrics a la “Excuse me while I kiss this guy/kiss the sky”. Loosening up, they both sing/dance on the bar to the delight of the patrons, while everyone sings along and Kevin cheers Jane on.
In the next scene, she and Kevin are back in her cosy, abandoned car in the meadow. Smooches abound.
Next morning, Jane wakes up in the car when Kevin brings her coffee. She sheepishly thanks him and assures him that she NEVER does what they did last night. Kevin, sheepish too, says he knows that she kept telling him over and over the night before, “I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve never done anything like this.”
The two go for brekkie at a diner. The patrons recognize Jane as “that girl”. At first she thinks they’re talking about her singing in the bar the previous night, but they mean she’s “the girl from the paper”. Jane and Kevin are shocked when the waitress shows them Kevin’s “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” front-page article featuring Jane. Jane thought he was writing about Tess and is devastated/feels he used her to get ahead in his career. When Kevin tries to explain that he told his boss to delay the story until he told her about it, Jane belts him across the chops and leaves.
At home, Tess is furious too at Kevin, but mostly at JANE. Kevin painted Tess as a demanding, fire-breathing Bridezilla batting planes out of the sky and she thinks Jane should have seen it coming. Tess storms out, sarcastically yelling that Jane should alert the media - Bridezilla’s on the loose.
Jane refuses to take Kevin’s multiple calls at her office. When Jane shows up at a bridal shop for Tess’s fitting, Tess magnanimously decides to forgive her for Kevin’s article she (Jane) is just too trusting. Tess is wearing a fancy, elegant white gown. Jane, confused, says she thought Tess was wearing their mother’s dress. Tess blithely says that she IS wearing it well, parts of it. She cut up the dress and inserted bits and pieces into the bodice, etc. Jane’s jaw drops as Tess points out the massacred fragments of their mother’s gown and says that Jane can still use it or what’s left of it.
Jane has HAD IT. She finally blasts Tess for her self-absorbed selfishness and furiously tells her that a relationship cannot be based on lies, especially the lies she’s told George. Jane demands that Tess tell George the truth about herself, or she will.
No she won’t, Tess tells her Jane cares about George too much to hurt him like that, and she’s her sister.
In the movie’s best line, Jane tells her, “That was yesterday - today you’re just the bitch who broke my heart and cut up my mother’s wedding dress.”
“It wouldn’t have fit you anyway!” Tess yells after her.
At Tess and George’s engagement party, Jane offers Tess a pig in a blanket in front of George. When Tess declines, Jane realizes that she’s still pretending be a vegetarian/humanitarian.
No more doormat Jane taps a glass for attention and start the PowerPoint slideshow. Jane reads aloud Tess’s sickening speech in which the bride claims that her and George’s love was destined by the gods. Set to the song “Happy Together”, the slideshow starts off fine with cute baby pics - but then deteriorates. Jane has inserted embarrassing pictures of Tess pulling a cat’s tale (as a child), screaming as a dog tries to lick her, pigging out on buffalo wings and canoodling with European male models. These are juxtaposed with shots of George doing charity work, enjoying hikes, etc. Meant for each other, indeed.
“I’m so proud of you, baby sister,” Jane says icily from the podium. Revenge complete. Casey takes the stage and nervously introduces Pedro who cheerfully says how much he loves his Big Brother George. He thanks Tess for helping him start a cleaning business.
As the guests sit in embarrassed silence, George asks Tess about Pedro and the photo of her eating meat. She tries to tell him they were taken long ago, but she’s busted because she’s wearing her engagement ring in them. He walks away with Tess running after him, asking for a chance to explain.
Casey asks Jane if that was really necessary. Jane reminds Casey that she’s always told her to stand up for herself. Sure, Casey says, “but you just unleashed 20 years of resentment in one night” and if it were really the right thing to do, she’d feel good. Does she?
Hardly Jane is embarrassed and miserable at what she’s done, and feels worse when Tess comes back in and says that the wedding’s off.
Outside, Kevin tries to comfort Jane and doesn’t criticize her for what she did to Tess, but for taking care of everyone else instead of herself. He says that she’d rather take care of everyone else’s “Kodak moments” than make memories of her own. He gives her a Palm Pilot (or cousin thereof) to replace her falling-apart Filofax and walks away when he realizes she’s too upset to talk to him.
At home, Jane throws open her closet doors and yanks out all 27 of her heinous bridesmaid outfits. We then see them in large trash bags next to her as she stares in awe at the empty space in her closet and her life.
Jane and Tess’s Dad gets them together at the hardware store to make up neither sister knew the other one would be there. Tess is still furious that Jane humiliated her in front of everyone she knows and throws tools while Jane ducks them. Jane sticks up for herself and says that Tess is still not taking responsibility for the lies she told George. Tess sadly tells Jane that she knows nothing about her “perfect” life she’s broke, she got fired from her job and her Euro-model boyfriend dumped her. Then she met George, who was so nice and treated her well. She wanted to be someone he deserved, someone he could love, so she acted like well, like Jane. Tess tells Jane that she didn’t HAVE to take care of her/everyone after their Mom died but Tess is grateful that she did. The sisters have taken the first steps toward reconciliation.
Jane gets a call on the new phone/PDA Kevin gave her and smiles at the ringtone he’s programmed on it “Benny and the Jets”.
George calls Jane in to the office last-minute one night to help with a speech. Jane is her usual accommodating self, and George tells her that he loves the fact that she never says no to him. Jane is aghast at that George tries to cover, but Jane isn’t having it. She tells him that she’s been crazily crushing on him for years, but he never realized. She appreciates the fact that he hired her right out of college then she got too comfortable to quit, but now she’s got to.
George is thirsty now that the well’s about to run dry he grabs Jane and kisses her. She pulls back, confused, and kisses him again and says that she dreamt of this moment for so long, but feels nothing at least not the sparks one should feel when kissing their sweetheart. George doesn’t feel any connection either, but they wish each other well.
Jane rushes to Kevin’s office to find him. He’s off covering a wedding his LAST wedding. The reception is a dinner cruise, which is just pulling way from the dock when Jane arrives. She’s disappointed but then takes a running leap onto the boat, and, of course, makes it.
She has trouble finding Kevin and the bride gives her a microphone, which Jane uses to address him. When she finds him in the crowd, she smiles shyly and the bride puts a spotlight on Kevin. Jane tells Kevin that he’s nothing like the man she imagined herself with he’s cynical, snarky and she’s falling in love with him. She gets off the dais and goes over to him. She continues her speech nervously until Kevin tells her to “Get over here” and kisses her gently to the warm approval of the crowd, of course.
1 Year Later
It’s Jane and Kevin’s wedding day, and Tess and Casey are at the beach ceremony locale, very pretty in yellow bridesmaid dresses and greeting guests.
George and Pedro arrive Pedro asks his Big Brother if he thinks he (Pedro) has a chance with Tess, since he’s a year older now. George grins, “Who knows?” and happily says hello to Tess. She’s thrilled to see him and (re)introduces herself to him. She lives in Maryland with roommates, she’s broke, she’s designing a fabulous new line of handbags and she eats a hamburger a day. George smiles at her, clearly very taken with the new/real Tess.
Jane walks down the aisle on her father’s arm resplendent in white, of course. We see Kevin’s face light up proudly as she walks to him. As they exchange vows, the camera pulls back to show a wide shot of Jane’s bridesmaids all 27 of them, each in the hideous outfits they had Jane wear for them Goth dress, sari, kimono, cowgirl hat, hoopskirt, scuba gear and all. Jane said that they’d be there for her when it was her turn, and so they are. It’s finally her turn.
The clever ending credits are styled as a newspaper article in which Jane and Kevin’s wedding is covered in the NY journal.
Not-So-Plain Jane (Katherine Heigl) is madly crushing on her clueless boss George (Edward Burns) and is crushed when he falls for and proposes to her glamorous, self-absorbed sister Tess (Malin Ackerman). Tess even takes the wedding locale that Jane wanted and unfeelingly cuts up their mother’s dress to have it remade for herself. Jane’s best friend Casey (Judy Greer) is disgusted with Tess and urges Jane to stick up for herself. Snarky but handsome writer Kevin (James Marsden) can turn a mean phrase when reporting on weddings, but hates them, a paradox that confuses Jane to no end. Jane and Kevin become closer while he covers her sister’s wedding.
Having already been a loyal, patient bridesmaid 27 times, will Jane snap when she has to be her sister’s maid of honor as she marries the man Jane secretly loves?
Yep she does indeed snap and reveals Tess as being two-faced at her engagement party. It’s an empty victory as George calls off his wedding to Tess. In the end, Jane and Tess make up, Jane realizes her feelings for George were just a crush and that she loves Kevin. She finds him and declares this where else? At a wedding reception.
A year later, Jane and Kevin happily marry, while Tess and George reconnect at Jane’s wedding.