Director: Leslye Headland
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, Rebel Wilson, Adam Scott, James Marsden, Kyle Bornheimer, Hayes MacArthur, Arden Myrin, Ella Rae Peck, Andrew Rannells
RunTime: 1 hr 27 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene, Drug Use and Coarse Language)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm Media
Official Website: http://bachelorettemovie.com/
Opening Day: 13 December 2012
Synopsis: On the night before an old friend's wedding, three frisky bridesmaids go searching for a little fun but find much more than they bargained for. With lovely Becky (Rebel Wilson) set to marry her handsome sweetheart, Dale (Hayes MacArthur), the remaining members of her high school clique reunite for one last bachelorette bacchanal in the Big Apple. Regan (Kirsten Dunst) is an overachieving, ueber-Maid of Honor who's secretly smarting over the fact that she's not the first to marry, while Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is a whip-smart sarcastic who's actually a closet romantic, and Katie (Isla Fisher) is a ditzy beauty who loves the good life. But when Becky insists on keeping the bachelorette party tame, the women proceed with an after-hours celebration of their own.
Bachelorette opens with one of the cutest moments in recent memory. “I’ll get the Cobb salad with no chicken, no bacon, no cheese, no avocado,” declares Regan in one glib, hurriedly pronounced sentence that will put even the most conscious eater on this side of the world to shame. Her plus-size friend, Becky, shoots the waitress a shy smile as if she wanted to apologise for Regan’s curtness. Instead, she chimes in: “I’ll get the burger and fries with her cheese, her bacon. Don’t bring the dessert menu. I already know I want the cheesecake.” That would be it, except Regan breaks into a lecture on the likelihood of Becky being dumped by guys only to be forced into a sarcastic grin when Becky reveals that she’s getting married.
Regan clearly has great respect for Becky, but no amount of love and happiness between the two friends can prevent the ennui-filled Regan from gushing baloney about how she deserves to be the first in their high school clique to marry because she is slim. Their two other high school mates, Gena and Katie, are equally jealous though their regular drug-fuelled escapades might suggest they have no right to. So on the night before Becky’s ceremony, Regan, Gena and Katie decide to take one last jab at Becky’s size by fitting themselves into Becky’s wedding dress, Regan and Katie in the dress at once to be exact. Unsurprisingly, the dress tears, leaving the ceremony in jeopardy hours before it is set to commence.
The movie may have seemed destined to be plastered to the raging trajectory of The Hangover and Bridesmaids, the latter an obvious antecedent, but Bachelorette, adapted from a stage play, never reaches for the more tempting slapstick comedy or the dizzying heights of entertainment delivered by raucous adventures. This is a quieter movie that’s far more invested in characters’ emotions, especially in learning how to sacrifice overwhelming jealousy in order to be truly happy for someone and in reflecting on the progress of one’s life against the backdrop of someone’s success. This isn’t necessarily bad news – even unique to genre storytelling – yet Bachelorette’s misguided script leaves it half buried in mediocrity.
That’s not to speak ill of the multiple character story arcs at play here. Regan eventually overcomes her jealousy to prove that she can be a reliable Maid of Honour, fully committed to the wedding and willing to go to great lengths to ensure that Becky’s wedding is as successful as it can be. Gena repairs a failed relationship while Katie, the most emotionally fragile of the friends and one who is ready to sleep with any guy within an inch of her, finally finds one who steers clear from taking advantage of her and loves her for who she is. Each bridesmaid has little moments of revelations and it’s really a perfect ending to see each emerge from the wedding a better person.
Unfortunately, none of these arcs feel like they need to be in this movie. They can, because they are drawn to a common theme of commitment and romance, both of which big parts of marriage, but this is not completely unrelated to the process of haphazardly stitching together individual stories and trying to package them into a barely legitimate, feel-good movie like New Year’s Eve (2011). There’s an alarming lack of direction in Bachelorette: Nothing is quite as befuddling as figuring out how Katie might have helped make Becky’s wedding a success when she spends most of her screen time in a drunken stupor and begging her newfound love to have sex with her.
To give credit where it’s due, Bachelorette is an almost faithful translation of its stage version, but the movie might have fared better had more creative liberties been taken with the material. The dialogue-heavy script is wrapped in pages of vulgarities amidst well-mannered intentions and viewers are treated so tirelessly to where’s-my-cocaine jokes on rewind that it becomes a chore to sit through the movie. It’s hard to recommend Bachelorette. If you’re looking for a brilliant chick flick, Bridesmaids is a video rental away. If you’re looking for romantic comedies, there’s a tall pile of them lying around.
(Great character drama unfolds here, but an alarming lack of direction and overused jokes leave Bachelorette half buried in mediocrity)
Review by Loh Yong Jian