‘Bachelorette’ isn’t brilliant, but it’s funny

Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher  in 'Bachelorette'
Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher in ‘Bachelorette’

In Bachelorette, “Becky” (Rebel Wilson) and her friend “Regan” (Kirsten Dunst) are having lunch together and while everything in Regan’s life is all about Regan, Becky has news and she finally blurts it out. She’s getting married.

This is a serious shock to Regan’s worldview. Regan has always known she would be the first among her clique of girlfriends from high school to get married and now that’s not going to happen. She’s worked so hard to get ahead. She went to Princeton. She found a boyfriend who is in med school. She’s pushed herself up by being a total bitch. But now she’s going to be maid of honor at a wedding that ruins her shot of being first to get married.

Naturally the first thing she does after lunch is call her good friend “Gena” (Lizzy Caplan) who insists on conferencing in their mutual friend “Katie” (Isla Fisher) so they can hear the story. All three were sort of friends with Becky in high school, even though they were among the crowd who referred to her as “pig-face” and Gena and Katie will be bridesmaids at the wedding.

Both have their own issues. Gena had something happen in her past involving the boy she was involved with in high school and she’s never gotten over it. As a result, she’s a lazy type who spends most of her time scoring pot and cocaine to keep her brain in a narcotic-induced haze. She’s clearly sexually active though, as she will pontificate on the various levels of blow-job she can provide to a man sitting next to her on her flight to get to New York for the wedding.

Meanwhile Katie is struggling to keep her new job in retail sales and manages to piss off a customer as she’s leaving for her own journey to New York. She has self-confidence issues and issues in general. But she’s cute, well-dressed and has a keen mind for fashion.

This is a recipe for a train wreck. Three girls who really don’t like the bride, trying to plan a Bachelorette party for a bride who doesn’t want anything seriously raunchy. They managed to totally piss off the bride to the point where she tells them not to show for the wedding unless they can behave properly and then the real trouble begins. Becky is a ‘large’ bride and her wedding dress is big enough for two, and since the three are alone with the dress, two try to get into it and the dress rips. Then it gets dirty. Suddenly, the film is a race against time to get the dress repaired and cleaned and the odds of that happening don’t look good. They get longer after the girls end up at a strip club, and in a hilarious scene, the dress is subjected to more abuse by one of the strippers in the ladies room. I won’t spoil it entirely, but I will say that if the bride knew where that dress had been, even though it was thoroughly dry cleaned, she still would have refused to wear it.

Kirsten Dunst and Rebel Wilson in 'Bachelorette'
Kirsten Dunst and Rebel Wilson in ‘Bachelorette’

So we have one of the bachelors wanting desperately to sleep with Katie. One of the bachelors wanting desperately to sleep with either Katie or Regan, and he really doesn’t care which. He just wants to get laid. Gena’s old boyfriend wants her back and she’s not sure what she wants. All three women want to get the dress to the bride on time. Gena had to give up what was left of her cocaine to bail one of the bachelors out of a situation she’d caused for him by stealing his wallet. And there were a lot of laughs along the way.

But the real crux of the tale isn’t whether or not the dress will be fixed and cleaned before the ceremony. The question is, will the three bridesmaids learn to stop loathing themselves. Hell, Regan loathes everyone, but she’s at the top of her own list. Gena needs to learn to forgive herself as well as others. Katie needs to learn to develop enough self-esteem so she won’t spread her legs for anyone with a penis between his.

Kirsten Dunst, who I like, is sadly not good in this lead role. She’s got one note. She’s a bitchy bitch. She bitches at everyone out loud and mentally at herself. It’s a one-dimensional performance that is not enjoyable. Conversely, Libby Caplan shines in every scene she’s in, overcoming some inadequate material to deliver a convincing portrayal of the woman who is coming to terms with something that happened before she was old enough and experience enough to fully grasp the reality. Isla Fisher’s character is wasted most of the film on alcohol or coke and one can say the same for her performance, although it wasn’t substances that made her performance a waste.

Bachelorette is raunchy fun. It isn’t overly moralistic and it delivers laughs. It’s better than you would expect. Enjoy it.

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