I just got through watching the rushes of Bachelorette, the 2012 movie adapted/directed by Leslye Headland, who wrote the original play. I can't wait until they release the version with actual characters and some jokes! What's that? There is no other version? The thing I just watched was the actual movie? Oh. Well, it's not a total loss. If it accomplishes nothing else, Bachelorette serves as a healthy reminder that you can stock your film with some of the funniest, most likeable actors currently working, and still deliver the cinematic equivalent of a chili fart. The movie revolves around three maladjusted bridesmaids (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher) who have reluctantly allowed themselves to be recruited into the wedding party of their high school friend (Rebel Wilson). In the midst of a joke about taking a picture of two of them in the voluminous wedding dress, the garment is shredded, sending the three bridesmaids on an all-night quest to get it fixed.

This movie has been held up as the female equivalent of The Hangover, but there are important differences. For one thing, The Hangover was pretty funny. Not funny enough to warrant two sequels, but the first one at least made me laugh. I think I cracked one wan smile during Bachelorette. Although both movies feature out-of-control debauchery, wacky hijinks, and raunchy language, the characters in The Hangover genuinely like each other (or at least want their marrying friend to be happy). Everyone in Bachelorette hates each other. In its hurry to push buttons and envelopes, Headland forgot to give her characters any sort of depth. They're exactly the kind of over-dramatic, emotional wrecks that you cross the room to avoid at a party, and are never balanced out by anything human, except during an unearned happy ending. I cannot improve on the AV Club's description, which is that no matter how adept Headland was at making her play work as a movie, "it’s almost possible to look past the crippling flaw at its core: Spending time with these people is hellish."

Simply put, there's nobody to root for here. Everyone is completely obnoxious. I don't need characters to be all-around swell people in order to like a movie, but there should be someone with at least some kind of redeeming characteristics, or there's just no enjoyment to be wrung out of it. Sometimes, a talented actor can elevate weak material, but even with Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan and Rebel Wilson and Isla Fisher and James Marsden all doing their damndest to make a group of assholes acting horrible seem like naughty fun, their combined muscle can't lift this dead weight. Or, to put it in terms that the characters in this movie would understand: Nobody can polish this turd into a diamond; it's just a polish-drenched turd.

Bachelorette: D-


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