A year after the hit, raunchy comedy Bridesmaids comes the inevitable female-centered comedies. But Bachelorette is not Bridesmaids—it’s not even The Hangover (although that comparison seems more apt). Although both films are female-driven comedies about weddings, Bridesmaids is about getting laughs through women acting like men; whereas Bachelorette is about getting laughs through women acting like women.

Bachelorette centers around a trio of mean girls trying to save the wedding of their “friend” after they mess it up. While drunk and drugged up, these developmentally arrested women ruin the bride’s dress. They spend the rest of the night running around Manhattan trying to fix it, using every tool at their disposal. But the night is about more than just the dress.

Regan (Kirsten Dunst) is the bride’s (Rebel Wilson—who was also in Bridesmaids, albeit playing a completely different kind of character) maid of honor, being the only one of the girls who still keeps in touch with her post-high school. She’s the Regina George of the gang, trying to keep her cool amidst the chaos. Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is the burnout who is slowly rekindling a relationship with her high school ex Clyde (Adam Scott—making for a steamy Party Down reunion). And Katie (Isla Fisher) rounds out the trio as the clueless drug addict (she does her own kind of rekindling with her high school dealer Joe—Kyle Bornheimer).

While these characters may sound devoid of substance, in the hands of these capable actresses their strengths and flaws are fleshed out. Gena goes through the greatest change as she begins to reexamine her life and the choices she’s made. Katie undergoes her own, smaller change—or as much of a change as one can achieve while high. Both Caplan and Fisher are playing variations on other roles they’ve done, yet they meld into this world effortlessly and find the humanity in these characters.

Dunst has the truly juicy part, balancing her own self-loathing with her loathing of those around her—whether they be her best friends, the bride, or the men of the bachelor party. Even though Regan keeps up a steely façade throughout the film, she does manage to learn a little something, although only time will tell if she puts that knowledge to practice.

Wilson, as the straight character, proves that she has more talent than she has let on in the past (combine this performance with the one in Struck By Lightning and we may have a new Anna Faris—for better or for worse). James Marsden (as slimy best man Trevor) and Andrew Rannells (as surprise ******** Manny) master their small roles as well.

Writer/Director Leslye Headland (she adapted the film from her play of the same name) knows the material well; and it shows. She understands raunchy female comedy and plays up the sexiness of women while downplaying the disgusting toilet humor that other raunchy comedies cater to (see: Bridesmaids). I’m eager to see what she’ll bring to the table next, and I hope this somewhat-classier female comedy style persists (see: For a Good Time, Call…).

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  1. For a Good Time, Call… « The JK Review

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