When “Bachelorette” begins, it’s easy to see the structural similarities to “Bridesmaids” … and then just totally laugh them off due to the two films’ vast tonal differences. Kristen Wiig’s comedy is like being tipsy on wine: wild, but also controlled and somewhat classy. Leslye Hedland’s movie, on the other hand, is like what I imagine being high on cocaine would be like: messy, strung out, and utterly chaotic.
The three bridesmaids here have little in common with the Wolfpack of “The Hangover,” rather, they all bear more than a passing resemblance to Mavis Gary, Charlize Theron’s protagonist of “Young Adult” whose mentality is stalled in high school. The mean girls of the ’90s are back to wreak havoc on the wedding of poor Becky (Rebel Wilson), a girl that they didn’t really seem to run with then and don’t seem to care any more for her in the present. I wouldn’t want anyone who called me “Pigface” at my wedding at all, much less as a bridesmaid!
But for a while, I was willing to overlook the plot holes and strap myself along for the drug-fueled shenanigans of harlot Katie (Isla Fisher), sassy Rashida Jones placeholder Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and their seemingly sober-ish ringleader Regan (Kirsten Dunst). The humor is at first stingingly acidic and bitingly true in a way that recalls Lena Dunham at her most sour. Caplan is the scene-stealer of the bunch, lighting up every scene even as she drains it of a significant portion of happiness.
Once again for the record, I’ve never been on cocaine, but I’ve been led to believe the high is followed by a big crash. And like I said, “Bachelorette” is like a few lines of cocaine, so for all the fun it brings, it comes down with a large thud. All the energy gets sapped out of the film’s second half as it veers away from a significant look at relationships and takes a turn down Formula Lane. By the end, I had all but tuned out of the three bachelorettes’ stories, which is disappointing. The characters were relatively interesting, but Hedland fails them with a predictable script that tantalizes with promise at the beginning. C /