out of Five
Running time: 87
Gleefully caustic comedy that sticks an elbow in the face of the usual chick flick conventions, thanks to an unrepentant script, pacey direction and a trio of terrific comic performances from Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan.
What's it all about?
Directed by Leslye Headland (adapting her own play), Bachelorette stars Kirsten Dunst as control freak Regan, who seethes with jealousy when her plus sized ex-high school friend Becky (Rebel Wilson) announces she's getting married and asks her to be the Maid of Honour. Still, the wedding is an excuse for Regan to reunite with fellow high school “B-faces” (think grown up Mean Girls) slacker Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and ditzy Katie (Isla Fisher), who duly arrive for the wedding rehearsal loaded with cocaine.
After the bachelorette party goes horribly wrong, leading to Becky storming out, the girls get into further trouble when they accidentally tear the wedding dress in half while making fun of how big it is. The trio set off on a coked-up mission to repair the dress before the morning, but they get distracted when they run into the bachelor party and Gena encounters her ex-high school sweetheart Clyde (Adam Scott).
Kirsten Dunst is a caustic delight as bitchy Regan, while Isla Fisher delivers perhaps the funniest performance of her career so far as dim-witted Katie. Similarly, Lizzy Caplan has been turning in wonderful supporting performances for a while now, so it's a treat to see her centre stage for once (she gets the main romcom plot) and hopefully this will lead to bigger things for her in future – the film is worth seeing for the speech she makes on the plane alone. Meanwhile, Rebel Wilson revels in the chance to play the straight role for once and there's strong support from Adam Scott, James Marsden (as a groomsman who hits on Regan) and Kyle Bornheimer (as an ex-classmate of Katie's).
The dialogue crackles with gleefully mean spirited one-liners and is frequently laugh-out-loud funny – make no mistake, these are terrible people, but the performances are so good that they still win us over. Similarly, the plot whacks an elbow in the face of the usual chick flick conventions (sometimes those clichés are explicitly shot down, such as the 'grabbing the microphone to make a speech' scene) and eschews anything resembling sentimentality – there is no hugging and learning here, as they used to say about Seinfeld.
Headland invests the action with a frantic energy befitting her coked-up trio, aided by some effective editing and a suitably heart pounding score by Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau. She also maintains a commendably consistent comic tone throughout, pulling off a satisfying ending that doesn't cop out and feels true to the characters.
Don't go to Bachelorette expecting Bridesmaids, but this is something of a guilty pleasure, thanks to a gleefully mean spirited script and a trio of committed comic performances from Dunst, Caplan and Fisher. Recommended.