Directed By: Leslye Headland
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Hayes MacArthur, Kyle Bornheimer, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Ann Dowd
A female-driven comedy called “Bachelorette.” It’s got to be like “Bridesmaids,” right? Far from it. Think “Bridesmaids,” but turn the poop to vomit, up the alcohol intake, darken the sense of humor, give Rebel Wilson an American accent and sprinkle some coke on top. That’s “Bachelorette.”
Becky may have been dubbed Pig Face in high school, but she’s getting married before all her friends, and to a nice, successful and good-looking guy, too! Having always gone to the gym, Reagan’s (Kirsten Dunst) quite jealous, but she’s got to suck it up and be a good friend because she’s Becky’s maid of honor. Katie (Isla Fisher) takes a break from bopping around in a fashionista delusion to fly in for the festivities as does Gena (Lizzy Caplan), who’s still coping with her breakup with Clyde (Adam Scott), smoking up a storm and indulging in whatever will make the pain go away.
Back together in the Big Apple, Reagan, Katie and Gena are determined to make their best friend’s wedding a truly special day. Trouble is, snorting a pile of coke isn’t on Becky’s agenda, nor a part of her lifestyle anymore, and when Gena and Katie get out of control, Becky calls it a night. Rather than try to patch things up, Gena, Katie and Reagan continue the party themselves, getting so drunk and high, they decide it’s a good idea to squeeze two people in Becky’s wedding dress. A little stain here, a big rip there and they’ve got one night to get things back in order so Becky can walk down the aisle in her dress.
“Bachelorette” isn’t laugh out loud funny like “Bridesmaids;” it’s its own breed of comedy. Some of the gags are extreme, but just about everything in “Bachelorette” is grounded enough to feel real and that results in this wonderful aching feeling when you know a character is about to do something that’s bound to go horribly wrong. So rather than get a big laugh every few jokes, that sensation leaves you on the verge of laughing the entire film and when something happens that is worth a chuckle, you’ll be left doing that uncontrollable giggle thing where you don’t know if you’ll be able to stop.
Leslye Headland’s script is funny, but much of the humor comes from Dunst, Caplan and Fisher. Dunst continues to prove that she can sell just about anything, turning into the intense yet somewhat well-intentioned Reagan, giving her just enough room to breathe to suggest that’s she’s uptight, but can still have some fun. Fisher plays to type as the absolutely out of control Katie while Caplan goes the snarky route, highlighting Gena’s cynical attitude. Each of the ladies get their moments to shine, but much of the fun of “Bachelorette” comes from seeing the gang all together. We’ve seen it time and time again in the trailer, but when Regan and Katie hop into Becky’s wedding dress in the full feature and you hear that vicious rip, your jaw will still hit the floor.
The jokes flow steadily from beginning to end, but what Headland and co. deserve some major credit for is balancing the humor with some really serious issues. It isn’t easy to throw drug abuse, alcoholism and eating disorders into a comedy tactfully. While we most certainly get a good laugh out of Katie’s drunken antics and the results of one character outing another’s bulimia problem, Headland actually never undermines the conditions. “Bachelorette” doesn’t come with any “drugs are bad” messages, in fact it might even do the opposite, but because Headland knows exactly what she has here and sticks to it, the characters come across as people who know who they’ve got issues and, therefore, so does the audience. With that realization at the forefront, you’re far more eager to laugh right along with the ladies rather than scoff at them.
Your father or grandparents might not appreciate “Bachelorette,” but if you’ve got a soft spot for “Clueless” and “Mean Girls,” and are into movies prime for late night viewing with a bottle of wine in hand, “Bachelorette” most certainly is for you.