Bachelorette (review)

Bachelorette red light Kirsten Dunst Rebel Wilson

I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): was dreading another Bridesmaids

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

This is the sort of movie that makes me hate movies.

No, scratch that: This is the sort of movie that makes me hate humanity.

I feel like no one knows how to make a comedy anymore that isn’t nasty and petty and highlighting the absolute worst that people can be in situations short of actual war crimes. I mean, mean can be funny sometimes, if handled smartly, but it’s as if only mean can be funny now. There was a time when wit was witty. But there is nothing amusing or clever in watching terrible people do terrible things to other people, not even, mostly, if the other people deserve it.

And even on that cruel curve, Bachelorette is unspeakably pitiless, and in no way that is enlightening as to human nature or even mildly interesting in itself. It’s bad enough that its plot is mostly about cruelty among supposed friends, but it’s punctuated by random cruelty — as when a shop worker insults a customer for no reason at all — as if this were a normal everyday thing. It’s like this is a comedy from Star Trek’s vicious Mirror Universe, where backstabbing and scheming are just the way things are.

It starts from the very first moment of Bachelorette, when Becky (Rebel Wilson: A Few Best Men, What to Expect When You’re Expecting) is trying to tell her friend Regan (Kirsten Dunst: Melancholia, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) about her engagement to be married. They’re sitting in a restaurant, and Regan orders a salad with no bacon and no cheese and no avocado, and Becky orders the cheeseburger with fries and dessert — special lingering emphasis is placed on the fact that Becky already knows what she wants for dessert and is going to order it no matter how full she might end up being after that cheeseburger and fries. This is “funny,” see, because Rebel Wilson is fat, and this must be harped on: the fat girl is getting married! to a “super good looking guy”! It’s not enough that we can see perfectly well that Becky is not slim. It must be underlined that Becky is fat fat fat and doesn’t even care! This is so we can understand why Regan hates hates hates that her fat friend is getting married, because Regan did everything “right” and is still single.

Happiness and celebration are not in this wedding equation. A miasma of resentment and envy is what Bachelorette will continue to be about. Somehow, we are meant to come to understand that nasty, spiteful people like Regan, Becky’s maid of honor — as well as Becky’s other horrific bridesmaids, Gena (Lizzy Caplan: Hot Tub Time Machine, Cloverfield) and Katie (Isla Fisher: Rango, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!) — are decent people in spite of their appalling behavior. These women are self-centered and selfish, manipulative people who revel in their assholishness and embrace their own impossibly low levels of self-esteem. And that’s before they do something so awful on the very eve of Becky’s wedding… oh, I can’t even bear to think about how someone made this the centerpiece of a comedy that’s supposedly about friendship.

And oh, I cannot even begin to tell you how sorry I feel for Becky — there’s no indication that the film feels the same way — that the women she thinks are her closest friends despise her the way they do. Does Becky have no other true friends, people who actually love her? Because they are who should be her bridesmaids. Has Becky deluded herself into believing that Regan, Gena, and Katie genuinely like her? Terrible terrible terrible.

There are so few films about women and women’s friendships, and my mind boggles to learn that this one was written and directed by a woman, Leslye Headland. Has she drunk the Hollywood Kool-Aid? Or does her understanding of women’s relationships with one another really come down to believing that women don’t have actual friends, only frenemies? Does she really believe that even educated women are idiots to be shown up by men? That women are adorable when they’re stupid and stoned? That women need men to tell them to grow up? That women are horny sluts who needed to shamed into modesty by men?

I just want to curl up into a ball and cry. And then tell my true friends how much I love them.

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
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