Movie Review: Bachelorette
Length: 87 minutes
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Directed by: Leslye Headland
Stars: 2 out of 5
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, the film "Bachelorette" finally finds its way into theaters. The film hopes to capitalize on the success of last year's "Bridesmaids," a film that showed the general public just how funny women can be.
This film follows a group of old friends getting ready for a wedding. Becky (Rebel Wilson, "What to Expect When You're Expecting") makes the announcement over lunch with her best friend Regan (Kirsten Dunst, "Spider-Man"). Regan should be happy for her best friend, but she's upset that she wasn't the first of the group to take the plunge.
The film then jumps to the night before the ceremony. Gena (Lizzy Caplan, "Hot Tub Time Machine") and Katie (Isla Fisher, "Confessions of a Shopaholic") are on hand as bridesmaids. No one seems to be happy about the wedding, but everyone decides to attend the bachelorette party. After having a few drinks, the girls accidentally rip Becky's wedding dress. The film then focuses on their attempts to get the dress fixed before the ceremony.
"Bachelorette" is a film that wants to imitate "Bridesmaids" but falls short. The highlight of the film is Wilson, who also appeared in "Bridesmaids." As the one plus-size character in the film, she is the one whom viewers will connect to over the course of the film. While she has some truly funny moments in the film, many of the jokes come at her expense. Regan makes it clear that she is only the "fat friend" in the group and that Regan should get married before her. Another character in the film appears just to call Becky "pig face," which was her unfortunate nickname during high school.
Those moments would be fine if the film let her friends stand up for her. The other characters in the film are unlikable compared to Becky. Gena is more concerned with her ex-boyfriend who will be at the wedding than she is about her close friend. She frequently mentions her one-night stands and meaningless relationships with others, including complete strangers. Even Katie, the one person looking forward to the wedding, has her faults. The film shows her acting nastily to those who stop by the club where she works.
The odd thing about the character of Katie is that she doesn't quite fit into the movie. Fisher can play a ditsy character with ease, but she also has a history of playing strong females. She almost seems miscast in "Bachelorette." When a rude or mean comment comes out of her mouth, some viewers might find it hard to believe.
Dunst does the most convincing portrayal of a bridesmaid in the film. In one memorable scene, the girls track down the owner of a dress stop and have her open the store. When the other girls find a new dress for Becky, Regan balks at their choice because it's the same dress she always dreamed of wearing. She claims that licking a sidewalk is a better option than letting Becky have the dress, and she then drops to her knees and begins licking the sidewalk outside the shop.
First-time director Leslye Headland does her best with the film. Though she wrote and directed the film, she is clearly better suited as a director. She always seems to know exactly what to do with the camera, pulling the camera in on those important moments and pulling back when the scene calls for it. Headland previously used the script as a stage production, and many of the scenes worked better on the stage than those moments do on the big screen.
The male characters take a backseat to the women in the film, which is a shame because the actors are so talented. Clyde (Adam Scott, "Friends with Kids") wants to see his ex-girlfriend Gena and comes to grips with a traumatic issue they shared as teens. As he fights with her over her drug use, viewers will feel connected to him. Caplan and Scott play off each other nicely, creating a believable pair who may or may not be meant for each other. Trevor (James Marsden, "Superman Returns") turns up throughout the film as a groomsman with feelings for Katie. Marsden gets back to his roots, playing a suave character that viewers will either love or hate.
Critics already compare "Bachelorette" to "Bridesmaids" and say the film is more successful when it stands alone. Had the earlier film not come out, viewers might enjoy this one a lot more. Though it falters at times, the film does have a few comedic moments and a strong cast.