Bachelorette (2012)

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Kyle Bornheimer, Adam Scott, James Marsden, Ann Dowd, Horatio Sanz, Sue Jean Kim, Hayes McArthur, Andrew Rannells.

Director: Leslye Headland
Rating: R (for sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use.)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Home Video Release Date: TBD
North American Box Office: $TBD

Gary Sanchez Productions, BCDF Pictures, and The Weinstein Company/RADiUS-TWC.

Written by: Leslye Headland.
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1/2 (out of 5 stars)

A crudely drawn hybrid of The Hangover and Bridesmaids, Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette is a dismal drag of a film.  Finally receiving its theatrical release after being picked up at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival by The Weinstein Company, Bachelorette recently became the guinea pig for The Weinstein Company’s new Video-On-Demand distribution company, RADiUS-TWC.  Upon its release a month or so ago, the film shot to the top of the iTunes movie download chart, a first for a film not yet receiving a theatrical release beforehand.  Now that the film is being rolled out in a more conventional manner, more eyes will get to see it.  And while I am someone who encourages people to always watch more movies, in this particular instance…Bachelorette opening in theaters is not necessarily something I can endorse.

 

Bachelorette gives us three women – Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher) who have been friends since high school and have maintained some semblance of a connection through all those years.  Fate brings them back together however when Becky (Rebel Wilson), a girl they unmercifully dubbed as Pig Face, has asked them to be the bridesmaids for her upcoming wedding to Dale (Hayes McArthur).  Regan is a self-absorbed and emotionally stunted Mean Girl who, in terms of her mental composite, never left high school, despite securing an Ivy League education.  Regan relays the shock of Becky’s big news to Gena and Katie, who live a drug-and-alcohol fueled life in Los Angeles.  With Regan and Becky in Manhattan, eventually they all reunite in New York for the weekend of the marriage and Regan insists on giving Becky the perfect bachelorette party.

Once together, the three best friends, sans Becky, are not all that great for one another to be around.  Katie and Gena cannot stop snorting coke and drinking hard liquor and Regan, while annoyed with their behavior, nonetheless does a couple of lines herself and bemoans her existence.  As a matter of fact, everyone bemoans their existence, except Becky, who disappears for considerable portions of the film and I might argue is the most interesting character in the entire film.

When not complaining about life and staying continually high or buzzed, subplots begin to emerge.  Gena’s high school boyfriend, Clyde (Adam Scott), is one of Dale’s groomsmen and the two rekindle the exhausting I-hate-you-but-still-love-you schtick that plays into every movie that has some type of reunion.  Katie is more disconcerting with her behavior and when Joe (Kyle Bornheimer) tries to get something started with Katie, who he knew fairly well in high school, she cannot remember him until he tells her that he sold her some weed once.  Then, she remembers.  Oh, this is a riot!

Bachelorette is adapted from Leslye Headland’s off-Broadway play in 2010 and so, it is honestly unfair to call this a Bridesmaids knock off or attempt at cashing in off the back of the Oscar-nominated and Kristen Wiig-led comedy from 2011.  Unlike that film, Bachelorette possesses a lilting joylessness, and a disquieting and unbridled nastiness that I simply could never get past and found fitfully aggravating.  Films which are mean-spirited can still be enjoyable and entertaining, when well written, but Bachelorette is an absolute chore to endure.  Every main character is unlikable and even the supporting male players are not much easier to rally around.  As you are watching Regan, Gena, and Katie try and self-destruct on screen, go through all these machinations in supposedly tending to the wedding of a girl they never cared about in high school in the first place, logic and any actual care and concern you can invest with this characters is absent and empty.

No matter how many times Leslye Headland tries to suffuse the crazy and provide moments which make these women seem more and more real, the attempt at going emotional is bungled terribly.  When the film decides to implement its core story arc; i.e. the women running all over Manhattan on the eve of the wedding trying to repair Becky’s dress they nearly destroyed in a vicious and cruel joke, I had already had enough.  Enough of Regan’s narcissism, Gena’s coke-infused whining about her ex-boyfriend, and Katie’s careless and frankly disturbing behavior and personality.

Some will like the vulgar tone and nasty, carefree depiction of women engaging in drug-fueled adventures, just like many men have done in similar-themed films.  The problem is Leslye Headland is not very good at managing any of this and has no concept of when to bend and flex her story to engage the viewer.  Bachelorette always keeps you at a distance and beats you over the head with unpleasantness.  I sat slack-jawed through virtually all of it, seldom laughing, and checking my watch to see how much more I needed to endure.

More than one performing comedian friend of mine has mentioned that new and unpolished comics will more often than not try and work blue to get over with their crowds, expecting that the shock of swearing and cursing will minimize the heckling,  Consider Bachelorette, from first-time filmmaker Leslye Headland, an example of either the blue not working, because of ill-conceived timing and delivery, or the comic flat-out obliviously bombing through a set and refusing to leave the stage.  However you wish to state it, Bachelorette is purposeless, lost, not funny at all, and offers us some of the most unpleasant people you will ever be saddled with for 90 tiresome and desperate minutes.

SHOULD I SEE IT?
YES
  • Those who are thinking this is similar and a repercussion from the massive success of Bridesmaids will be interested.
  • Fans of Bridesmaids and the aforementioned Hangover-series will be interested in seeing an R-rated comedy supplant women in typical roles played by men.
  • Rebel Wilson, set to potentially breakout big any moment now, will be a drawing card for some people.  Also, Kirsten Dunst and her counterparts have not ever really played in something like this, so there may be some appeal from fans of Dunst and the other actors in the film.
NO
  • Everything is so mismanaged here from the top on down, Bachelorette never gets a shot at any potential greatness.
  • The ludicrous storyline involving running all over Manhattan to repair a wedding dress is lazily written and directed and terribly conceived.
  • Watch Bridesmaids and the first-Hangover instead.  Come to think of it – get in touch with me and I will recommend a film from each of the stars involved for you to watch.
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