Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

"Headland revels in the comedy of discomfort and keeps the one-liners coming, while still sticking to - and sticking it to - a romance plotline."

It's taken a long time since its world premiere at 2012's Sundance Film Festival for Bachelorette to get the chance to engage with audiences, but this bitchily enjoyable comedy, which is surprisingly gooey at heart, is finally getting a UK release this week. Before I go any further, I must apologise to anyone hoping for incisive comparisons with the similarly titled Bridesmaids - as the only critic in the western world who somehow managed to miss it, I'm afraid you must look elsewhere.

What I can tell you is that this movie debut from Leslye Headland - who has adapated it from her own play of the same name - is a very arch and funny film, even if some of the characters, most notably bride Becky herself (Aussie actress Rebel Wilson), are rather thinly drawn in a way that may have worked on the stage but doesn't quite cut it in the cinema.

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The basic set-up is as familiar as too much alcohol at a reception - a group of childhood buddies get together for their pal's wedding. This time around the friends include self-centred queen bitch Regan (Kirsten Dunst), coke-addled Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and dizzy sex bomb Katie (Isla Fisher), all part of teenage Heathers-style clique the B-Faces (that's bitch faces, and this film takes the b-word to heart). The central joke is that despite the slinky look of the bridesmaids, it is the naive and never-going-to-be-a-size-zero Becky who is going up the aisle first, so excited at the prospect she might just burst and blissfully unaware that her bestest pals in the whole wild world have spent half their lives snarking about her behind her back.

When the friends accidentally let rip on the bridal dress, they find themselves in a farcical race against time to patch it up before morning... inevitably patching up aspects of their friendships and past loves along the way.

Headland revels in the comedy of discomfort and keeps the one-liners coming, while still sticking to - and sticking it to - a romance and friendship plotline, so that the end result feels, as one of the characters points out, "like a Jane Austen novel on crack". Dunst is terrific as the spiky Regan, her ice queen exterior masking a crumbling sense of self, while Caplan and Fisher also have plenty of fun amping up their stereotypes. After the film's premiere at Sundance, Headland remarked that "Isla is really just a drunk Molly Ringwald", which just about hits the nail on the head. No amount of zingy putdowns from Dunst or coke lines from Caplan can hide the fact that this film is fluffy at heart (and no worse for that).

Reviewed on: 12 Aug 2013
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An imminent marriage opens old wounds for a group of friends.
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Director: Leslye Headland

Writer: Leslye Headland

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, James Marsden, Isla Fisher, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Rebel Wilson, Arden Myrin, Hayes MacArthur, Kyle Bornheimer, Meg Phillips, Ella Rae Peck, Leslie Meisel, Megan Neuringer, Chris Cardona, Gil O'Brien

Year: 2012

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Sundance 2012

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