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2012 | 88 min | R | 2.39:1



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Movie appeal

Dark humor10%


Theatrical release date

 07 September, 2012
 16 August, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

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Screenshots from Bachelorette Blu-ray

Bachelorette Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, September 6, 2012

While I didn’t find myself overwhelmed with the insanity of last year’s hit “Bridesmaids,” its absurd length and dramatic decline is a Caribbean vacation compared to the forced acid bath of “Bachelorette.” Shockingly unlikable and unfunny, this latest round of women behaving badly is crippled by unnecessary excess, botched characterizations, and a calculated round of 1990s nostalgia to appeal to the core demographic. Aching to be irreverent and insightful when it comes to the flattened soul of the thirtysomething party girl facing the cell clank of adulthood, “Bachelorette” would be better off as a soulless farce, not the noxious semi-melodrama it eventually becomes. It’s a movie that doesn’t know whether to hug its characters or push them off a bridge.

When Becky (Rebel Wilson) announces she’s engaged to handsome Dale (Hayes MacArthur), the news sends her high school classmates, high-maintenance Regan (Kirsten Dunst), promiscuous cokehead Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and dim-bulb Katie (Isla Fisher), into shock. Roped into wedding plans, Regan masterminds a night of old-fashioned partying, only to be kicked out of the group when her abrasive demeanor ruins the festivities. Adding to her misery, a session of monkey business with Gena and Katie results in a torn wedding dress, sending the trio into the night on the hunt for a method of repair. Finding little luck with hotel cleaners and dress shops, the gang drowns their sorrows in drugs, while tagging along with Dale’s bachelor party, a situation that brings Gena back into her ex-boyfriend Clyde’s (Adam Scott) field of vision, while shy Joe (Kyle Bornheimer) attempts to woo a clearly disoriented Katie, hoping to seize love with his old crush.

Making her filmmaking debut is writer/director Leslye Headland, adapting “Bachelorette” from her own play. The material’s theatrical origins are generously displayed in the finished effort, with a majority of screentime devoted to three conversational women and their clouded worldview, finding Becky’s wedding day to be a wake-up call for their own personal problems. Trouble is, these aren’t complex characters set loose inside a delightfully manic creation. Instead, Headland sketches out caricatures, keeping the three leads irritatingly cartoonish with comical limits to personal patience and self-perception, furthering a narcissistic point of view that would blossom in the care of a moviemaking veteran. Headland brings a predictable sourness to the picture to help it compete with bawdy business found in “The Hangover” and “Bridesmaids,” but she can’t find a clean break from the darkness, eventually attempting to mellow a feature that’s dusted with cocaine gags and mean-spirited bully behavior (including the women making fun of Becky’s weight behind her back).

“Bachelorette” labors to build Regan, Katie, and Gena as fallible folk, hoping to humanize the misadventure as the story enters its second half, where the wedding dress nightmare spirals into confessions of love and confrontations of old habits. I wish there was a flicker of noticeable light within the lead characters, something to help guide the path of redemption Headland is eager to form. After a ripe first half, where we discover the threesome as high-strung anxiety bombs with drug and self-esteem issues unleashed in a charged pre-wedding party atmosphere, “Bachelorette” eventually slows to a trot to inspect the tepid neuroses. Because a comedy just isn’t a comedy unless it tackles talk of abortion responsibility and spotlights a suicide attempt. Headland softens the blow by injecting references to “My So-Called Life” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” but it’s merely frosting on a withered, misguided confection, deflecting attention away from poorly managed personalities with the high beams of nostalgia.

“Bachelorette” is certainly bawdy, but there’s no invention to the mischief that supports an entire feature. Instead, we’re treated to clichéd male behavior, mild gross-out jokes (a stripper uses Becky’s dress to wipe off her crotch), and weird fixation on cocaine abuse, helping to fuel destructive behavior that’s more sad than hilarious. Little of “Bachelorette” is inviting or informative, despite a script that demands an embrace in the final reel.

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Horatio Sanz, Hayes MacArthur
Director: Leslye Headland

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