Directed by: Leslye Headland
Written by: Leslye Headland
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Kyle Bornheimer
Sometimes it’s okay to admit that your friends are simply terrible people. Like the worst of the worst. With each new ridiculous circumstance they find themselves in, the characters in Bachelorette prove that they could not care for anyone besides themselves and with it came some very good comedy.
With Becky (Rebel Wilson) about to get married, she calls upon her high school friends Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher) to be maids of honor. They each dread having to celebrate that their “fat friend” got married before them but it presents the opportunity for them to put together a stellar bachelorette party where they can get messed up with drugs and alcohol.
The key to enjoying something as abrasive as Bachelorette is accepting that the characters we follow throughout the story are simply horrible humans, especially when juxtaposing them to Becky, who just wants to marry the love of her life. With each new incident these women get themselves in, it pushes your tolerance level of what you can put up with and I found myself enjoying the ride.
A film like this will certainly draw comparisons to something like The Hangover with a similar story of a bachelor party gone wrong and with equally edgy material, but Bachelorette stands on its own because it pushes against the perception of women in these types of stories. Seeing something like The Hangover may be easier to digest because men typically make a fool out of themselves in those situations and their level of crassness has been deemed acceptable by society. Seeing women partake in similar indiscretions pushes against the idea of a woman’s place because they do terrible things and could care less. The women in Bachelorette physically act and say all of the things that would typically stay in the mind of most people. Their brutal honesty makes it uncomfortable to watch because it would not be proper or decent to behave like them.
This crassness coming from women certainly had its intention and writer/director Leslye Headland knew exactly what she was doing with this story. She pushes the limits of how awful and selfish these three women could be before they reach the point of no return for any possible redemption by the end of the story. Headland also gets some great work out of her trio of actors that feel like they’re playing off-type.
Maybe it’s just me but whenever I think of Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher, I always associate them with good characters that have a good soul. They typically bring a bright light to each of their films, which made their character work in Bachelorette all the more jarring, but also effective. They really pulled off this complete disregard for decency in a way that must be commended. Dunst, in particular, gets a larger focus in the story with her character Regan and how she tries to keep things together just as Gena and Isla lose their composure. Tasked with being the maid of honor, she certainly needed to step up and clean up the colossal mess their drug-induced actions have caused.
Like any comedy, this film takes a dramatic turn and the material each character undergoes gets fairly dark, which needed to happen with the personalities at play. Those moments come in tender moments in the story where they may not be as drunk or high from all of the partying. Those moments show that these good actors can turn on a dime even when coming from raunchy comedic moments.
When the dust settles and all of the cocaine is cleared, Bachelorette proved to be quite the entertaining flick. It really seeks to push some buttons, but it presents such a hilarious group of characters that you begin to hate but then start to love because of the circumstances that made them just so terrible. Your enjoyment of the story will depend heavily on how you react to these characters, but it should make you wonder if you would feel similarly if men behaved in the same way. The film has much to enjoy and a bevy of other fun side characters that only add to this wild experience that stands as an impressive feature film directorial debut for Leslye Headland.