| March 19, 2013

Right on cue, after the success of Bridesmaids comes the obligated copycat film Bachelorette.  Both films are raunchy comedies surrounding a group of friends preparing for a wedding.  Here, the bride to be is Becky (Rebel Wilson; Bridesmaids).  On the night before her wedding, Becky’s best friends from high school are in town to help her celebrate her nuptials but when the Bachelorette party falls apart, and Becky retreats to her room for the night, her friends decide to have their own party with drugs and alcohol and groomsmen.  Things go instantly wrong when the girls accidentally destroy Becky’s wedding dress and have to race around New York City to try to get it fixed in time for the wedding.

If this all sounds pretty standard for these types of comedies, you’re right.  The only thing that makes a movie like this interesting is the principally female cast, but that raises some concerns too.  For example, the Katie character (Isla Fisher) is really stereotypical in how stupid and shallow she is, not to mention her drone-like lack of self-control.  On the other hand, Lizzy Caplan offers a very sundry performance.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her theories about romance, and her relationship with ex-boyfriend Clyde (Adam Scott; Parks and Recreation) is nicely complicated to keep her character arc moving forward.  Somewhere between these two characters is Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of maid of honor Regan.  She has the stereotypical element of being bitter and jealous about her fat friend getting married before she does, but what keeps her performance interesting is how she’s capable of taking control of any situation.  This is mostly evident in the final scenes of the film, but there are a lot of moments throughout where this strong quality in Regan’s character shines through.  Also, it’s nice to see Dunst do such a broadly different role than she traditionally takes.  Regan is foul-mouthed, arrogant, and sexual, and while there was probably a better casting choice they could have gone with, I at least respect Dunst’s wanting to try something new.

The male side of the cast does a great job too.  I’m a big fan of Adam Scott’s other work (Party Down, The Vicious Kind, and even Piranha 3D), and he doesn’t disappoint here.  The moral compass of the film comes from Joe (Kyle Bornheimer), who manages to get Katie to believably grow up a little.  And James Marsden (X-Men), who I typically don’t like at all earns some praise from me here because of his willingness to step away from the nice guy persona he’s established for himself.

A lot of the humor in Bachelorette is very effective.  The rhythm of the characters’ back and forth lands in a way that’s clearly polished, but still feels realistic.  The profanity arguably reaches a level of gratuitousness, but it never bothered me or felt unnatural to this group of people.

Special features include a behind the scenes featurette, bloopers, and commentary by writer/director Leslye Headland.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment on March 19

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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