★ / ★★★★
Over lunch, Regan (Kirsten Dunst) receives the most shocking news of her life when Becky (Rebel Wilson), her best friend who happens to be fat, tells her that she has accepted a marriage proposal. Barely able to contain her rage and disbelief that “Pig Face” is to be married before her, she calls Gena (Lizzy Caplan) about the bomb who then telephones Katie (Isla Fisher), thereby completing the “B-Faces,” the notorious name of their high school clique. Regan is appointed as maid of honor, a title she begrudgingly accepts in order to save face. After the bachelorette party, Regan and Katie attempt to fit themselves in Becky’s wedding dress. To their horror, it almost rips in half.
“Bachelorette,” based on the play, screenplay, and directed by Leslye Headland, should have been a lot more fun given its unlikeable characters who find themselves in serious trouble as they gallivant across the city to find anyone who can and is willing to cover up for their mistake. Instead, what is created is a yet another film about women pursuing matters of the heart and/or sexual needs that becomes most maddening in its final third.
I enjoyed that the characters are people I would choose not to associate with. Chances are, you and I have met people like Regan, the jealous harpy, Gena, the defeatist cynic, and Katie, dumb as a pile of bricks. We see why they are friends because although they are different from one another they have a pattern of feeding each other’s insecurities. But what does not work is Becky’s relationship with them. There are syrupy conversations that recall what happened in high school but there is no depth to the stories. On the contrary, there is a smug irony during the moments of reminiscence. As a result, it feels like the material is making fun of the audience for trying to find a way to believe in the foursome’s friendship.
After the dress has been ruined, so is the picture’s chance of actually turning into good entertainment. Nothing especially funny happens, just occasional chuckles due to some witty comebacks, through the whining, glaring, and overall unpleasantness. The script forces its characters to refer to movies like Howard Zieff’s “My Girl” and Amy Heckerling’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” but it does not reach a similar level of sensitivity or fun reckless abandon. I was so bored, I began to count the minutes between suggestions of “Let’s do coke!” or some variation of it. With the amount of hard drugs they consumed, they should have been dead before dawn.
The torn wedding dress symbolizes the maturity level of those responsible. The deeper they get in reckless behavior, the wedding dress looks that much worse. On that level, as superficial as it is, the film does a good job. What is most disappointing, however, is that the writer-director fails or neglects or is too lazy to discern the difference between the three women–as mean as they are–being genuinely concerned that their friend’s wedding might be ruined and their subconscious desire to sabotage. Unlikeable people can be very entertaining to watch… but there must be an active attempt to make them interesting.