Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott, James Mardsen, Kyle Bornheimer and Rebel Wilson.
Directed by Leslye Headland
It’s a slow news day so I figured I would bring my better-late-than-never review of writer/director Leslye Headland’s “bad-girls-behaving-badly” film; Bachelorette. Originally screened during last February’s Sundance Film Festival, of which I was not invited to, this latest entry into the mean girl genre has some genuinely amusing moments, but misfires on other easily attainable set-ups to result in it receiving a less than enthusiastic recommendation. Even with that said, I don’t understand why this video-on-demand (VOD) flick didn’t get a wider release last weekend (only 47 screens) after Gangster Squad was pulled. It surely would have boosted that weekend’s dreadful box office take and with a little bit of marketing, might have done no worse than the latest Adam Sandler film, That’s My Boy.
Perhaps as a piggyback vehicle to last year’s Bridesmaids, Bachelorette’s wedding theme and colorful cast continue to show that the girls can be equally ribald when drinking and drugs blur the lines of proper wedding etiquette. Of course, who amongst us hasn’t been to that wedding where several guests just seemed to go off the deep end?
We begin with Becky (Rebel Wilson) sharing the big news to her old friend Regan (Kirsten Dunst) over lunch one day in Manhattan. Regan makes a face that instantly relates how disgusted she is in this news. Regan’s shock is equally felt by the other two members of their high school best buds, Gena (Lizzy Kaplan), who spends the days after high school in a booze and drugs altered state, and Katie (Isla Fisher), who has climbed the corporate rung to the pinnacle of being a ditzy clothing retail saleslady.
When Regan, Gena and Katie reunite prior to the big event, their reminiscing includes the shock as to how the former member of their posse, whom they casually referred to as “pig face”, could beat the rest of them down the aisle, especially Regan. It doesn’t take us long to realize that ole “pig face” actually is the only one of the group remotely responsible enough to take that honor.
Headland does a superb job of highlighting that fact by introducing Becky as a warm and sweet woman who is so thrilled to have her best friends from high school serve as her maid-of-honor and bridesmaids, she somehow never caught on that they really didn’t like her.
There are some excellent establishing scenes that give us a terrific combination of energy and humor combined with laugh-out-loud witty dialogue between the sharply molded characters that should have served as the basis for a top notch comedy, but the tone grows meaner and meaner as the night rolls along only to make an about face moments before the wedding that you might get whip-lash from its severity.
When an early evening visit by the obligatory male stripper reignites old wounds, the bridesmaids are left on their own and they quickly wreck havoc on everything they touch, including the wedding dress. Once the girls decide to take the show on the road, a.k.a a strip bar, they run into the male side of the wedding party and it marks the beginning of the film’s slide into mediocrity.
This isn’t the fault of the male cast mind you, it’s just that this part of the film held so much promise only to trip over cliché after cliché. Best man Trevor (James Marsden) is the wise-cracking man’s man who is instantly attracted to his counterpart, Clyde (Adam Scott) reluctantly reconnects with his former high school sweetheart, and sappy Joe (Kyle Bornheimer) spends most of the film following Katie around like a puppy dog.
Overall, there isn’t enough fresh takes on outrageous behavior and perfectly timed banter to justify this as a contender for the female perspective to funny wedding films, but it isn’t as bad as some of the more recent attempts at R-rated humor we were insulted by this past summer.