Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bachelorette: You Don't Have to Like Me

Leslye Hedland's 'Bachelorette' premiered as Video on Demand on early Ausgust, reaching #1 on iTunes and will be available on theaters September 7. The film, an adaptation of Hedland's play of the same name, stars Kirsten Dunts, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan as three high-school friends on bridesmaids duty as their not-so-attractive friend Becky (Rebel Wilson) turns out to be the first one to get married. The main plot revolves around the night before the wedding, as the three girls accidentally (Freud would probably disagree on this) wreck Becky's wedding dress and go on a night of crazy adventures to repair it.

The synopsis as well as the raunchy humor of the film will inevitably bring comparisons to 'Bridesmaids', which is not only a very well made and funny movie, but one of last year's biggest hits; not only grossing over 200 million dollars, but earning a rare Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination for such a film. I would urge you to forget about 'Bridesmaids' for a while and give this film a chance, because it is really good. In some ways it feels like a marriage of two of last year's films: the aforementioned 'Bridesmaids' and 'Young Adult'. And it may be my favorite of the three.

Like 'Bridesmaids', it deals with perceived success of failure and how female relationships are affected by the situations, but unlike 'Bridesmaids', the relationships between these women is far more darker. They are friends, but they treat each other in a dark way that rings true to life in some ways. I am no woman and I hate to generalize, but I have seen a lot of back-stabbing and talking-behind-her-back go on as far are female friendships are concerned. In the case of 'Bachelorette' there's a lot of this kind of behavior and is propelled mainly by low self-esteem.

Arguably the lead in this ensemble piece is Regan (Kirsten Dunts), who is the made of honor at the wedding. She does care for her friend Becky, but she also wishes she would be having her fairy-tale wedding instead of her: after all, she's smart, beautiful and has a boyfriend at med-school. Her life should be perfect, but it isn't. Then you have Katie (Isla Fisher) who abuses drugs and alcohol to hook up with every man she can in order to feel loved and Gena (Lizzy Caplan) who also abuses drugs and alcohol, but to escape the memory of scarred high-school experience involving her then boyfriend (Adam Scott) who is incidentally at the wedding.

Becky's wedding dress is wrecked as a symbol of these women trying to escape what they believe must mean to be a woman. They aren't likable characters, but they feel real. Unlike other raunchy movies like 'The Hangover', this one does put its characters above the comedy in a good way. It's still very funny, just in a smarter way. It is still a group of very unlikable people doing unlikable stuff, but I was somehow interested in what they were doing.

Towards the end, 'Bachelorette' rather regrettably indulges in too much sentimentality that undermines a little of its initially delightful pitch-dark tone. The film overall is flawed, especially at the end, where a lot of the emotional arks are wrapped up too quickly in a way that is not exactly satisfying. However, the trio of Dunts, Fisher and Caplan are so utterly fantastic that they carry the movie through its roughest patches to make it a worthy experience.

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