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Film review: BACHELORETTE, from Built For Speed

Bridesmaids showed that films about women behaving badly at weddings could be critical and box office hits.  Bridesmaids was funny and in your face but also genuinely moving as it explored the way the supposedly joyous occasion of a wedding elicited people’s anxieties, disappointments and self-loathing.  Bachelorette tries to tap into the same world of ballsy female bonding and painful self-reflection but fails to strike that tricky balance between politically incorrect humour and pathos.

Bachelorette stars Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplin and Isla Fisher as former high school alpha females whose adult lives haven’t turned out the way they’d hoped.  Dunst has become angry, impatient and disillusioned with her stalled career and romances; Caplin is directionless and seemingly obsessed with oral sex while Fisher has become a ditzy coke fiend.  When another friend played by Rebel Wilson – who they uncharitably referred to at school as Pig Face – announces she is getting married and they are to be bridesmaids, their feelings of bitterness and self-hatred bubble to the surface.  Their response is to go on a drug-fuelled, disaster-filled all night bender that threatens to derail the wedding.

Bachelorette just can’t get the tone right, it darts back and forth awkwardly between crass comedy and raw personal drama but is neither consistently funny nor convincingly dramatic. The problem lies mostly in the script which continually opts for unfunny gags about penises, cocaine and bodily fluids instead of attempting any real wit.

All the leads do their best to draw some humour and emotional complexity from their characters but they’re constantly battling a sub-par script which simply portrays them as nasty or stupid.  Dunst, the ersatz leader in this ensemble cast has the most varied role as she switches disconcertingly from loyal friend to psycho wedding planner but it’s not a character worthy of her talents.  Strangely, Rebel Wilson is sidelined for most of the film and isn’t given much to do during her brief appearances.

In the debauched wedding movie world Bachelorette is funnier and smarter than the execrable The Hangover Part 2 and the Aussie disaster A Few Best Men but compared to Bridesmaids, which it so desperately tries to emulate, Bachelorette is a disappointment.

 

Nick’s rating: Two and a half stars.

Classification: MA

Director(s): Leslye Headland

Release date: 1st November 2012

Running time:  87 mins.

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