3 maidens of dishonor on the aisle
BY RICHARD ROEPER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST September 5, 2012 5:42PM
Regan Kirsten Dunst
Becky Rebel Wilson
Katie Isla Fisher
Gena Lizzy Caplan
Trevor James Marsden
Clyde Adam Scott
RADIUS-TWC presents a film written and directed by Leslye Headland. Running time: 94 minutes. Rated R (for sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use). Opening Friday at River East, Barrington and Yorktown.
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:09PM
OK, we get it. Women can be just as foul-mouthed, crass, drug-besotted and promiscuous as the boys. You won’t believe what can happen over one crazy night!
The problem comes when they’re also nasty, mean-spirited, back-stabbing b-words that seem to define friendship as the place where you betray, mock and belittle one another while patting yourselves on the back for being so cynical and self-consumed. When the three main characters are so thoroughly unlikable, who are we supposed to root for, other than the person responsible for bringing us the closing credits?
Not to be confused with the smarmy (and equally despicable in its own way) television series of a similar title, “Bachelorette” is writer-director Leslye Headland’s raunchy, R-rated adaptation of her scorched-earth stage play about four 30-ish women who have been best friends since high school: Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Katie (Isla Fisher) and Gena (Lizzy Caplan), three hot messes who seem to have moved a collective one inch forward in terms of personal maturation, and Becky (Rebel Wilson), the overweight fourth wheel who was unaffectionately dubbed “Pig Face” in high school. And isn’t it endearing the nickname is still in circulation, courtesy of her buddies for life?
When Becky announces that she’s the first of the inner circle to get engaged — to an attractive, wealthy, great guy no less — her friends feign happiness, but are actually horrified. How could SHE be the first one to tie the knot?
Gee, I don’t know, ladies. Maybe it’s because the three of you spend most of your time hopping from bed to bed, pounding drinks, yelling at colleagues, snorting copious amounts of cocaine, insulting nearly everyone you encounter and stabbing one another in the back, side and front?
No wonder why these three are friends. Nobody else in the world would put up with them.
“Bachelorette” has its moments of lunatic humor, as when Regan blurts random lines such as, “I’m so happy I could buy a gun!” Or when cheerfully idiotic Katie can’t even pronounce the name of the retail store where she works. Or when Gena wakes up next to some random guy she apparently met the night before, puts on a T-shirt with a pop star’s face on it — and realizes the man in bed is the man on her shirt, and she pretty much hates his music. (Why she has the T-shirt is anybody’s guess.)
But these little moments of semi-inspired humor are quickly lost in the “Hangover”/“Bridesmaids”-esque bachelorette festivities in Manhattan, where things go from bad to worse to felonious in nature. Before it’s over, there will be binge drinking, skinny girls ingesting enough coke to make Tony Montana flinch, sex in a bathroom, vomiting — and sometimes sharp, often cringe-inducing reminders of just how mean these girls can be. Even when Becky fondly looks back on a bonding moment she shared with Regan in high school, it’s the story of how Becky rescued Regan from public humiliation, and Regan happily accepted and never set the record straight.
Of the four leads, Wilson fares best, and that’s partially because she has the good fortune to be offscreen for any number of scenes in “Bachelorette.” When Becky is featured, we at least see glimpses of an actual human being with something approaching genuine feelings.
As the ostensible lead, Dunst throws herself into the role of the type-A leader of the pack who’s in charge of the wedding plans. Fisher is the funniest of the group, but she’s stuck playing the perpetually drunk airhead who can’t be bothered to remember the name of the guy who’s trying to court her and has been smitten with her since high school. And Caplan, another talented actress, is playing a tragic character for laughs, and it just doesn’t work.
As for the men, James Marsden is puppy-dog hilarious on “30 Rock” and Adam Scott is deadpan comic gold on “Parks and Recreation,” but they’ve got very little to work with in “Bachelorette.” They’ll probably be relieved when few people remember that they were even in this movie.
I’m ready to forget that I ever saw it.