A year after the hit, raunchy comedy Bridesmaids comes the inevitable wave of female-centered comedies. But Bachelorette is not Bridesmaids—it’s not even The Hangover (although that comparison seems more apt). Although both films are female-driven comedies about weddings, Bridesmaids is about getting laughs through women acting like men; whereas Bachelorette is about getting laughs through women acting like women.
Bachelorette centers on a trio of mean girls trying to save the wedding of their “friend” after they mess it up. While drunk and drugged up, these developmentally arrested women ruin the bride’s dress (ripping it nearly in half and staining it with blood and—maybe—semen). They spend the rest of the night running around Manhattan trying to fix it, using every tool at their disposal. But the night is about more than just the dress.
Regan (Kirsten Dunst) is the bride’s (Rebel Wilson—who was also in Bridesmaids, albeit playing a completely different kind of character) maid of honor, being the only one of the girls who still keeps in touch with her post-high school. She’s the Regina George of the gang, trying to keep her cool amidst the chaos. Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is the burnout who is slowly rekindling a relationship with her high school ex Clyde (Adam Scott—making for a steamy Party Down reunion). And Katie (Isla Fisher) rounds out the trio as the clueless drug addict (she does her own kind of rekindling with her high school dealer Joe—Kyle Bornheimer).
While these characters may sound devoid of substance, in the hands of these capable actresses their strengths and flaws are fleshed out. Gena goes through the greatest change as she begins to reexamine her life and the choices she’s made. Katie undergoes her own, smaller change—or as much of a change as one can achieve while high. Both Caplan and Fisher are playing variations on other roles they’ve done, yet they meld into this world effortlessly and find the humanity in these characters.
Dunst has the truly juicy part, balancing her own self-loathing with her loathing of those around her—whether they be her best friends, the bride, or the men of the bachelor party. The climactic hotel sequence in which she tries to get everyone ready and headed to the wedding ceremony is a truly inspired showcase of her skills as an actress. And even though Regan keeps up a steely façade throughout the film, she does manage to learn a little something, although only time will tell if she puts that knowledge to practice.
Wilson, playing a more straight character, proves that she has more talent than she has let on in the past (combine this performance with the one in Struck By Lightning and we may have a new Anna Faris—for better or for worse). James Marsden (as slimy best man Trevor) and Andrew Rannells (as surprise ******** Manny) master their small roles as well—making for a truly all-star comedic cast.
With New York City as the perfect backdrop, the film moves at a brisk pace, following the girls’ adventures from a 5th Avenue wedding dress shop to a cliché Times Square strip club to a Central Park wedding. Writer/Director Leslye Headland (she adapted the film from her much-darker play of the same name) knows the material well; and it shows. She definitely lightened the tone of the play when adapting it, but she still maintains the dark, satirical comedy at the heart of the story.
Headland understands raunchy female comedy and plays up the sexiness of women while downplaying the disgusting toilet humor that other raunchy comedies cater to (see: Bridesmaids). I’m eager to see what she’ll bring to the table next, and I hope this somewhat-classier female comedy style persists (see also: For a Good Time Call...).
The specials contain a blooper reel, “Bachelorette: Behind the Scenes,” and an amusing commentary by Headland, who is a self-proclaimed “commentary junkie.”
"Bachelorette" is on sale March 19, 2013 and is rated R. Comedy. Written and directed by Leslye Headland. Starring Adam Scott, Isla Fisher, James Marsden, Kirsten Dunst, Kyle Bornheimer, Lizzy Caplan, Rebel Wilson.