Arriving on the footsteps of last year’s brilliant comedy “Bridesmaids” comes this year’s gal raunch fest, a shrilling tale of three shallow 1999 high school grads, who, now ten years down their dismal roads of life, drift about in their own air head world talking (with each other or complete strangers) about blow job techniques or the joys of sniffing coke. At times the scatterbrain utterances of Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Katie (Isla Fisher), and Gena (Lizzy Caplan) are so off-color it gives blue a bad name, yet the dialogue burns with a crazy anger and offbeat wit. Their self-absorbed efforts to derail the wedding of their oversized friend Becky (Rebel Wilson) as she heads to the marriage altar will ultimately end at a hilarious crossroads. Regrettably that intersection is 30 minutes shy of the actual film’s end.
As the bridesmaids gather at the New York City wedding party and meet/re-meet with some of the men from their school daze, some of director-writer Leslye Headland’s conversations (adapted from her own 2010 play) are flung about, destined for an afterlife at the water cooler. Joe (Kyle Bornheimer, a TV veteran, fondly remembered as the goofy good guy–bad luck groom in the short-lived “Worst Week”) chatting with Katie, who has no clue about their previous connection. He grew up next to Becky and assumed, unwisely, that Katie might remember him. Or that they took the same class together. “Wait! I took French?” she responds with deadpan earnestness. Joe remarks that she actually used to copy his homework. None of this registers until he mentions he used to sell her pot. A smile of drug-laced memories floods across her face, her amnesia seemingly cured. “Oh! Joe!” Small talk follows, with the clinker, “Do you have some?” God bless Isla Fisher.
Meanwhile, Gena’s mood ring is black with bitterness as she spars off with Clyde (Adam Scott), a former boyfriend who is at the pre-wedding party with a much younger date. As for Regan, the stablest (which isn’t saying much) of the bunch, she has a hissy fit when her offscreen b.f. Frank cancels his plans to attend because of his medical education.
Alas, the overboard antics of Katie and Gena get them banished by the bride-to-be. Then the s**t really hits the fan when the threesome decide to break out the bridal gown, then spend the rest of the night trying to cover up a disaster of their boneheaded making. This will prove to be a mountainous task, especially considering that Gena has snorted enough coke that she should be dead. And that tailors generally don’t work in the middle of the night.
While there may not be many hangovers, there are plenty of fun-filled (and off-color) hang-ups, embarrassing moments, and silly diversions, involving a strip club, casual sex, and various lustful moments. Near the hour-mark, the hijinks settle down with some semblance of sanity/urgency, combined with memories rekindled of friendships and romances long ago. The decided talky preachiness is too somber a departure from the film’s first two-thirds, although there still is a determined pace and frantic race to repair the night’s earlier fiasco. Dunst even gets a Knute Rockne moment.
Even with the stumbling finish, it’s a decent comedy with a good end tune (The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’). “Bachelorette” is a poor-woman’s “Bridesmaids,” in need of a bit more laugh-inducing moments. It played at Sundance back in January and has been available on video-on-demand since August 10th, in advance of a limited, 47-screen, opening this weekend by The Weinstein Company. I’m not sure there’s a big theatrical audience for this film, but if you gather your friends together, the pay-TV choice is a good road to take.