There’s been a ton of buzz surrounding the 2012 Sundance hit, Bachelorette. I didn’t catch it at last year’s festival, but a colleague of mine did and has assured me that it was essentially a Bridesmaids 2, only darker.
I do love Bridesmaids, but let me tell ya, Bachelorette is no Bridesmaids. It’s not even Very Bad Things. Sure, it may be foul-mouthed and vulgar, but even with the most likable characters you barely care what happens to them by the end of an eternity-feeling 87 minutes. Had it possibly gone the route of Very Bad Things, it may have given the cast a bigger chance to shine, but alas, we’re stuck with a group of very bad people instead.
Bachelorette finds us introduced to the loathsome Regan (Kirsten Dunst) who’s out to lunch with Becky (Rebel Wilson), her friend from high school. Becky informs Regan that she’s engaged to Dale (Hayes MacArthur). This infuriates Regan because in high school, they all used to call Becky “Pig Face” behind her back. It’s not a surprise to learn that Regan and Becky, along with fellow gal pals Katie (Isla Fisher) and Gena (Lizzy Caplan), were all called the “B-faces” back then. It’s pretty obvious what the “B” stands for, as every character is incredibly self-centered and mean-spirited. They all gather in a hotel somewhere in New York for one last night of debauchery. That is until Katie’s co-worker shows up as a stripper and calls Becky “pig face.”
Now Becky has put a stop to the night’s proceedings, but that doesn’t put an end to the other three from ripping the wedding dress, getting it bloody from Katie’s cocaine riddled nose, and dragging it (literally) through the streets of New York to find someone to patch up the dress. We’re also treated to a subplot that works better than anything else in the film, revolving around Gena and Clyde (Adam Scott), one of the groomsmen. Also participating in the shenanigans is the best man, Trevor (James Marsden), and down-on-his-luck-in-love Joe (Kyle Bornheimer). They all learn the standard life lessons in their madcap dash to save the wedding day from themselves but unfortunately, there’s nothing new for us here.
Writer/director Leslye Headland states during the surprisingly interesting commentary track that she began writing Bachelorette back in 2006. She also points out in the commentary that the female characters are based on her own personalities while the men are based on her friends because she only has really nice friends. It’s no wonder that when the two parties meet up in the hallway on their way to their separate nights of debauchery, we wish the camera was following the men. Dale, Joe, Clyde, and Trevor would have made for far better antics no doubt. That is until the women come barging in while they’re at a strip club.
Somewhere before she rushed through the film production to make the Sundance debut, Bachelorette was a stage play in which Scott and Caplan played the same characters. This makes it fitting that these two have more chemistry than even the so-called group of “friends.” It also helps that the two hilariously played love interests before on the canceled-too-soon Party Down. The only other characters you barely care about are Katie and Joe. Dunst overplays her character to the point of histrionics and as much as they plaster Wilson all over the cover, thanks to the insufferable popularity of Pitch Perfect, she only amounts to maybe 20 minutes of screen time. Which is really weird, since the film is called Bachelorette, but is all about the bridesmaids.
Bachelorette parties onto Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode on a BD-25 in a ratio of 2.40:1. If you’re worried about the film being crammed onto such a small disc, remember the short running time here and how scant the special features are. Being filmed on digital Red One cameras certainly helps too. For all the talk of this being such a rushed production, things look rather impeccable. Crush is never prevalent and details are outstanding considering the $3 million budget. With no DNR on hand, the digital sheen shines through in nearly every shot and there’s no noise, banding, or aliasing to speak of either. Rest assured the film looks way better than its 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio companion. The sound mix itself is rather fantastic, but it certainly drowns out the dialogue with surround effects and/or blaring music.
The special features are rather limited. We get an informational audio commentary track by Headland where she takes the time to explain her production which makes some things that happen in the film make more sense, but alas, not any funnier. Considering the cast on hand, I had hoped the two minute blooper reel could wind up being funnier than the whole film, but of course I was wrong. There’s also a five minute “Behind the Scenes” featuring interviews with the cast and crew, showing how much they all loved working together and how much fun they were having. Too bad none of it wound up working its way into the film.
The biggest issue with Bachelorette is that it commits the biggest cardinal sin of a good comedy by being so boring. You wait and wait for something hilarious to happen, and the only time anything remotely interesting happens is when Gena and Clyde are hashing out their sordid past relationship. I suppose if you’re looking for some mindless entertainment, there are far worse things posing as comedies at the local Redbox. And the film apparently has an audience somewhere having earned about $5.5 million on VOD. Is it worth the current Amazon price of $16.99? Not even close. But for only $1 there are far worse things you could waste your time and money on. Bachelorette is at least worth a rental at best.
Cover art and photos courtesy Anchor Bay Home Entertainment