Finally, a near great raunchy comedy featuring women has come out this year to compete against movies like “21 Jump Street,” “The Watch” and other raunchy guy comedies. “Bachelorette”—written and directed by Leslye Headland—is similar to last year’s “Bridesmaids,” the only other really good women’s comedy I’ve seen of recent. They both are about a bride and her maids and the various ups and downs they go through before the ceremony. But unlike “Bridesmaids,” which was a glossy, Hollywood film, “Bachelorette” has more of an edge. The women in “Bridesmaids” wouldn’t have done cocaine. At least not on purpose.
The bride to be is Becky (Rebel Wilson, who was also in “Bridesmaids”) a plump gal who’s not really interested in breaking the rules or doing hardcore partying. That’s interesting because that’s what her three bridesmaids and “friends” seem to do a lot of. They are: the uptight, blonde Reagan (Kirsten Dunst), the more aggressive brunette Gena (Lizzy Caplan). How do I know this? Her answering machine message is “Hi you’ve reached Gena, suck a…” you know. And finally there’s Katie (Isla Fisher) the ditsier one. All three are terrible terrible people. I guess all four of them were friends in high school and college. They even had a name for each other, “The B heads.” However, even though they were friends, the three bridesmaids managed to ridicule Becky behind her back and they still do. When Becky first tells Reagan the big news, she immediately starts complaining about her to Gena and Katie.
My first reaction to all of this was utter disgust. I couldn’t stand these three and I was convinced I would dislike the movie because of that. But, as the film went on and the three girls did what they did I began to feel sorry for them. They’re so agitated and aggressive all throughout the movie. Watching it you get the feeling that the girls never really grew up. Much in the same way Charlize Theron’s character Mavis Gary in “Young Adult” was a bitter, resentful overgrown teenager, I got the same impression watching Reagan, Gena and Katie.
As we find out, they all have deep-seated issues that they haven’t quite been able to get over. And hearing that Becky is getting married (something that pretty much all women in romantic comedies want to do) it’s just another excuse for them to continuing being angry and cynical. They mock and complain about Becky but at the same time they sort of need her, to get motivated to do something. This is what I most appreciated about “Bachelorette.” It’s a raunchy film but it goes somewhere deeper and more serious. It’s not just explicit for the sake of being explicit.
“Bachelorette” shows all of the usual wedding comedy scenes. There’s the rehearsal dinner speech, where the characters manage to make fools of each other and then there’s the wild bachelorette party. Though, this movie does a miraculous thing in that it doesn’t spend a lot of time on either of those cliché scenes. It gets through the rehearsal party scene without lingering on the foolish bridesmaids’ speeches (something “Bridesmaids” didn’t do) and during the bachelorette party scene when a male stripper comes out we don’t have to see the whole wild dance. Instead, Reagan, Katie and Gena rip Becky’s dress by accident and that leads them on an all night odyssey to get it fixed. During that night they run into a pack of guys, including the groom, and humorous things ensue. I’ll let you discover them for yourself. It’s also this turbulent night when we learn about the three bridesmaids and those deep-seated issues I mentioned before. Headland takes time to explore each girl without comic distraction and she does it in such a natural way. There aren’t melodramatic arguments followed by teary apologies.
Eventually, “Bachelorette” leads to a lengthy, chaotic final stretch featuring the imminent wedding. In its zany way everything comes together rather smoothly and I liked that none of the three girls makes a total 180-degree turn. Similarly to Mavis in “Adult” they acknowledge who they are, what their problems are but continue on being who they are. The edge still remains, it doesn’t descend into mushiness. I’m sure they’re still doing coke after the movie is over.