fri 18/09/2020

Bachelorette | reviews, news & interviews

Bachelorette

Bachelorette

Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher paint the town rouge in Leslye Headland's wickedly comic debut

Mean Girls: Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan unleash entertaining havoc in 'Bachelorette'

"What do you call a bachelorette party without a bride?" asks maid-of-honour Regan (Kirsten Dunst). "Friday," comes her fellow hen’s deadpan response. In Bachelorette the bridesmaids lose the bride, tear up her dress and get trashed; these are high-school mean girls all grown up and, hey, they're just as mean as ever.

"What do you call a bachelorette party without a bride?" asks maid-of-honour Regan (Kirsten Dunst). "Friday," comes her fellow hen’s deadpan response. In Bachelorette the bridesmaids lose the bride, tear up her dress and get trashed; these are high-school mean girls all grown up and, hey, they're just as mean as ever. Bachelorette is the spunky, spiky, sweary debut of writer-director Leslye Headland and appropriately it feels like a woman's work, albeit a woman proudly in touch with her inner bi-atch.

The film begins with Becky (Rebel Wilson, pictured below) announcing that she's getting married. Her best-friend, insincere charity worker Regan, takes the news so badly her face folds into a snarl and she's quickly on the phone to shared pals Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher) bellyaching that she should have been the first to wed. The quartet are a former high-school clique known as the B-Faces and the punky credit sequence confirms the raucous tone when it shows their high-school photos graffitied with abuse.

Skip to the day before the wedding and the women are reunited. An excruciating rehearsal dinner is followed by some low key bachelorette drinks during which Regan, Gena and Katie fall out with the bride after an old nickname makes a shocking reappearance. To make matters immeasurably worse, after Becky storms out, Regan and Katie squeeze themselves mockingly into her wedding gown only to rip it, seemingly irreparably. Incredibly, that's just the first indignity this garment will suffer.

The women are quite simply terrific. Dunst is a superb actress who’s not lauded enough and rarely in material that's a match for her talent, but she's phenomenal here - bitterly brilliant, whether she's having hate-sex with an utter bastard (played very effectively by James Marsden) or aggressively ordering about the wedding party. Regan will not get her happy ending, of that you can be sure; the movie acknowledges that you can't fit a woman this complicatedly fucked-up into a rom-com package ending. You just can't. Fisher gets to send up and delve into her ditzy screen persona, demonstrating genuine comedic flair, and Caplan is reliably droll. Wilson has made a habit out of stealing the show out from under many a skinny star and - though she certainly has her moments here - the skinny girls steal it right back.

Bachelorette might be spiteful and cynical but it’s also a riot and – in a similar manner to Spring Breakers – it’s genuinely thrilling to see young, attractive actresses having this much bad-taste fun on screen, considering Hollywood's women are so frequently pigeonholed in bland rom-coms and pretty-girlfriend roles (both Fisher and Dunst have suffered their share of both). lf the message is ultimately how tired bitching, backstabbing and hardcore partying gets after 30 then the film at least has a hoot reaching that conclusion, and the cast are blessed with sporadically strong material. For instance, a trip to a lap-dancing club, whilst avoiding overt judgement, turns it into an opportunity to ridicule the awkwardness of "intimate" encounters, with Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott gifted a moment that's a perfect fit for his nervous shtick as he painfully chatters his way through a private dance.

When Bridesmaids hit big the assumption was that we'd see a lot more sharp, adult comedies aimed at and written by women, yet with a handful of exceptions (most recently The Heat) this doesn't seem to have happened. Bachelorette is funny and wonderfully frank and, if Headland's film doesn't quite have material to burn, then there are enough belly laughs and she-did-not-just-say-that moments to satisfy. File alongside Young Adult as an enjoyably nasty look at perpetual adolescence.

  • Bachelorette is out in cinemas and available via on demand from Friday

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Bachelorette

Follow @EmmaSimmonds on Twitter

There are enough belly laughs and she-did-not-just-say-that moments to satisfy

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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