Leslye Headland's hen party comedy is Bridesmaids but better: darker, franker and sharper-edged
Recently Evan Goldberg, the co-writer/director of the superior slacker comedy This is the End, was asked why he’d been unable to find a place for a funny woman in his main dramatis personae. His response amounted to: I’m not a woman, how can I possibly write one? Perhaps the poor flower needs to see this film, and come to terms with the fact that ladies are not mysterious unicorns, but human people who can be just as foul-mouthed, dysfunctional, funny and vulnerable as the male characters he writes so well.
Bachelorette covers similar ground to 2011’s Bridesmaids – messed-up friends of a bride-to-be let their own problems get in the way of her wedding; chaos ensues – but it’s better: darker, franker, sharper-edged and more disciplined of structure. Kirsten Dunst gets one of her best parts since the days of Get Over It and Bring It On as high-achieving Heather-type Regan, who agrees to head up a wedding party despite latent feelings of spite towards the bride, Becky (Rebel Wilson). Joining her as bridesmaids are mean-mouthed Gena (Lizzy Caplan), whose substance issues mask a badly broken heart, and lovable mess Katie (Isla Fisher), who’s never stopped partying for long enough to work out what her issues are. These women’s problems are real and knotty, while their strategies for evading reality are a hoot to watch.
Writer/director Leslye Headland balances the script’s genuinely bleak elements with an unintrusive, non-cheesy emphasis on allowing oneself to become a marginally more functional human being; and the gags are laugh-out-loud. It might not be getting the saturation marketing campaign allocated to Bridesmaids or This is the End, but this is simply one of the best of its druggy-slackers-go-bananas genre. And such beautiful women haven’t been allowed to be so funny since Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.