The West

Review: Batchelorette
Scene from Leslye Hedland's Batchelorette

Bachelorette (MA15+) 2.5 stars
Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzie Caplan, Rebel Wilson
Director: Leslye Hedland
You'll like this if you liked: Bad Teacher, Young Adult, Observe and Report

It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud in a movie. Bridesmaids tipped me over the edge. So too the upcoming Pitch Perfect thanks to Rebel Wilson's scene-stealing turn as Fat Amy and some hilarious left-field one-liners (the film opens in December).

Sadly, however, I was squirming uncomfortably in my seat all the way through Bachelorette, Leslye Headland's debut feature about three girls who are invited to the wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school.

Where Bachelorette differs from the runaway hit that was Bridesmaids - a film that proved women are just as adept at writing smart comedy as men - is that the gross-out is just a little too gross, the language a little too crass and the jokes, well, they're frankly just too mean to be funny.

Bachelorette is based on Headland's critically acclaimed play but somehow it just doesn't translate to the big screen.

As the title suggests, the story revolves around the night before the big day when the girls - Kirsten Dunst as the jealous and overachieving maid of honour Regan, Lizzy Caplan as the stone-faced yet closet romantic Gena and Isla Fisher as the dizzy and uber- bitchy shop assistant Katie - set about giving the bride-to-be Becky (Wilson, whose talents sadly go to waste here) a wild send-off.

All Becky wants to do is eat ice-cream and drink champagne in the room after the rehearsal dinner but the girls have other plans, organising a stripper as entertainment.

The bride-to-be goes along at first but when she learns the girls call her Pigface behind her back she pulls the pin, prompting her three boozy, coke-snorting "friends" to party on without her.

Things go horribly wrong though when Regan and Katie think it funny to climb into Becky's over-sized wedding dress to prove how fat she is. Drugged up and drunk, the girls manage to tear the dress down the middle - and so begins a race-against-the-clock to get it fixed in time for Becky's big day.

This of course leads to more drug taking and booze swilling and sees the girls meeting up at a strip joint with the groomsmen, including womaniser Trevor (James Marsden), nerdy Joe (Kyle Bornheimer) and Gena's old flame Clyde (Adam Scott).

It's about the time the men arrive on the scene that Bachelorette seems to take an odd detour. Early on we're confronted with three very shallow, very nasty females - all of whom can't believe "someone like Becky" is making it down the aisle before them.

However, Headland unapologetically tries to infuse some romance into the story by pairing off each of the girls with a groomsman, betraying the black comedy she seemingly set out to make (it even prompted one critic to rename the film Girls Gone Mild).

By the time Headland explains why the girls are as nasty as they are - Katie, for example, puts down others because of her low self-esteem while Gena is still damaged because of the event that prompted her break-up with Clyde - frankly we're all out of empathy.

Where Bachelorette does redeem itself is that despite the very nasty characters, Dunst, Caplan and Fisher do as well as they can with the material they are given.

Caplan, in particular, shares a lovely chemistry with Scott as the pair go on a trip down memory lane and Clyde manages to crack Gena's icy exterior.

However, Dunst seems uncomfortable in a comedic role while Wilson is massively under-used playing the straight girl and her character is as insipid as a pastel bridesmaid dress. Above all, it's hard to believe someone who seems fairly comfortable in her skin and clearly has plenty of other friends would associate herself with such a mean-spirited trio. Leave your manners at the door and you may well enjoy Bachelorette for its black comedy and fast pace.

For me though, the characters were just a bit too hard to stomach and their biting words and cynicism left a sour taste in my mouth. Sadly, Bachelorette is just too mean, girls.

The West Australian

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