In Enchanted, The Notebook, Superman Returns and the X-Men trilogy, James Marsden plays the hunk who winds up with the short end of the romantic stick. But the happily married father of two finally gets the girl—real-life newlywed Katherine Heigl—in the new romantic comedy 27 Dresses. The Oklahoma-bred actor, 34, talked with PEOPLE’s Reagan Alexander about life as an onscreen third wheel, his own Southern wedding and the joys of daddyhood.
Is 27 Dresses the first film where your character doesn’t get dumped?
It’s the first time in a movie that, possibly, lots of people will see [laughs]. Most people think of me as “that guy,” but it’s not something I set out to do, or enjoy, to play that sort of third wheel. It was starting to look pathological. But it’s really hard to complain about anything.
In the movie, you take a harsh view of the wedding industry. You’ve been married to actress Lisa Linde, 35, for seven years. What was your big day like?
We had it in downtown Nashville, Southern food. It was close family and close friends; that’s it. I didn’t want anyone there I didn’t know. We just had a ball.
How do you two make it work?
It’s always been about being together and keeping the family together. When I’m not working, I want to be home, and that’s all I want to do.
Your son Jack is 6 and Mary is 2. Did they watch you in Enchanted?
My daughter’s still too young, but Jack’s like, “Dad’s on the big screen, he’s wearing puffy sleeves and swinging a sword around. That’s cool.” Then he eats some popcorn. He thinks I’m pretty cool, but he keeps me grounded too.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When you have kids, you end up seeing Cinderella, Shrek and Toy Story over and over again. I could recite those whole movies for you right now.