Film review: Bachelorette

Bachelorette

(MA15+) ***

Director: Leslye Headland.

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Adam Scott, James Marsden, Hayes MacArthur, Kyle Bornheimer.

REMEMBER last year when everyone was saying "Bridesmaids is the female version of The Hangover", except it wasn't really?

Well, here's Bachelorette, which is tempting to label as the female version of The Hangover but that would also be inaccurate, as well as selling this surprisingly dark pre-wedding "dramedy" short.

Like The Hangover (and Bridesmaids for that matter), Bachelorette focuses on some debauched and increasingly out-of-hand behaviour right before someone's big day, but that's where the comparisions end.

This "bridesmaids gone bad" tale follows three high school friends Regan, Gena and Katie (Dunst, Caplan, Fisher), reunited ahead of the wedding of their fourth BFF Becky (Wilson).

Some drunken and cocaine-fuelled shenanigans the night before the big day result in a torn wedding dress, setting in motion an all-night mission to get the dress repaired or replaced.

It's a thin premise that's there to allow for self-reflection from its deeply flawed core trio, who make for interesting characters thanks to three solid performances from Dunst, Caplan and Fisher.

Dunst ditches her usual girl-next-door schtick to give her all as Regan, the matriachal stressed-out bitch, Caplan's Gena is the foul-mouthed party girl, whose promiscuity and profanity hide a wounded soul, while Aussie Fisher rekindles the comedic flair she showed in The Wedding Crashers as the ditsy but troubled Katie.

The performances and characters are the best thing about Bachelorette, which tries to walk a fine line between bawdy gross-out comedy and introspective "what have I done with my life?" drama for 30-somethings.

One minute this is a debauched hen's party involving a male stripper, too much cocaine, female strippers, and lurid sex conversations; the next minute it's tackling issues such as bulimia, abortion, suicide attempts and self-image.

It's a tough balancing act, and while Bachelorette keeps its issues in the air, it drops the laughs. And vice versa. It wants to be the twisted sister of Bridesmaids, and the effort is admirable - if nothing else the film should at least be applauded for tackling some meaty material in what is presents itself as an otherwise throwaway film.

While Bachelorette is edgy and willing to avoid proper answers to difficult real-life questions, it can't help but be utterly predictable in some ways. As much as it tries to resist pairing characters with their obvious rom-com partners, the film just can't help itself.

There are a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, a few surprises and a welcome edge to the girl's gone wild exploits, but it's the three leads and their interesting characters that save this being an unsalvagable mish-mash of dark drama and misfired comedy.

PS. I didn't review Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 because I haven't seen the four preceding films. But you already know if you want to go and see that, don't you?

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