MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Kirsten Dunst as REGAN
Isla Fisher as KATIE
Lizzy Caplan as GENA
James Marsden as TREVOR
Kyle Bornheimer as JOE
Rebel Wilson as BECKY
Adam Scott as CLYDE
Studio: Anchor Bay
Directed by: Leslye Headland
BY KEVIN CARR
More than ten years ago, the film “The Sweetest Thing” was released. Contrary to what the title led you to believe, this film was not about adorable and heartwarming things. Rather, it was a story of three foul-mouthed women who spent much of the film drinking in excess and enjoying wild and promiscuous sex. It was meant to be a groundbreaking film from Nancy Pimental, a strong female writer in Hollywood who as a virtual unknown sold the screenplay for an unheard of $1 million.
That movie was a big deal for Hollywood… until it sunk at the box office and was torn apart by critics. The reality is that movie audiences don’t generally want to see a film in which the main characters are a bunch of whorish drunks who swear like a drunken sailor and screw anything that movies.
And no, it’s not just because women were doing it. Watch enough movies, and you’ll realize that while there are plenty of films with guys that act boorish and sleazy in the same way, they are rarely the hero. And when they are the lead in the film, the plot acts to change these ways.
In this sense, “Bachelorette” is much like “The Sweetest Thing.” It’s a ensemble piece of attractive ladies, but their beauty is only skin deep. Each of the characters is an ugly person inside, whether they’re coked-up whores or bitter, entitled assholes.
When it was first released, I heard many comparisons of “Bachelorette” to “The Hangover,” and I suppose those are fair to a degree. However, “The Hangover” offered a certain degree of redemption, and the characters in that film fit standard archetypes which were different from each other. In “The Hangover,” you had the asshole, the buffoon, the wimp and the nice guy. In “Bachelorette,” you have three horrible women who are basically angry at life because their own self-made traps of awfulness remind themselves of how putrid they are as human beings.
The story follows three so-called friends (Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan) from high school who come together to be bridesmaids for their friend Becky (Rebel Wilson) on the eve of her wedding. During the rehearsal dinner and subsequent bachelorette party, the nasty past among these girls is slowly revealed, which sends Becky back to her hotel room.
The three friends proceed to accidentally drunkenly destroy Becky’s dress while continuing to make fun of her weight. Then they spend the rest of the night trying to fix the dress, while sucking enough cocaine up their noses to kill a small horse and stumbling into vomit-covered sex with various would-be groomsmen.
I’m assuming “Bachelorette” is meant to be an unflinching look at how women really are, but I’ve always questioned this approach. This might be how a certain segment of the female population acts, but hardly all of it. Movies like “Bachelorette” and “The Sweetest Thing” appear to be constructs of women trying to justify their awful behavior in real life.
And for the record, I don’t want to see a movie about guys acting out their hedonistic and irresponsible tendencies either. It’s okay to have one character in a film act like this for comedic potential and to play off the more desirable characters of a film. However, when the entire film is populated with them, it’s simply distasteful.
Think of this in relation to the movie “Clerks.” What makes that film work, amid its raunchy situations and caustic language, is the main character of Dante is actually a nice guy. His friend Randal is foul-mouthed and abrasive, but he still acts above board for the most part. Imagine if the entire film was populated with characters like Jay from the Jay & Silent Bob duo. It would be awful. (Even when Jay got lead roles in films like “Dogma” and “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back,” his character’s nastiness was toned down, and he was tempered by many other “good guy” characters.)
In the end, “Bachelorette” is a well-shot and professionally made film about the worst human beings imaginable.
The Blu-ray comes with a commentary by writer/director Leslye Headland, along with a blooper reel and a short behind-the-scenes featurette.