'Bachelorette': Too Evil to Be a 'Bridesmaids' Clone

The characters in the raunchy wedding comedy are beyond hilariously screwed up. They're unlikable.

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The Weinstein Company

At a glance, Bachelorette, the new comedy starring Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan, seems like it'd be one of the first big-screen beneficiaries of the Bridesmaids Effect. Both films are about weddings and have big, mostly female, ensemble casts. Both have buy-in from huge comedy names (for Bridesmaids it was Judd Apatow, and for Bachelorette, it's Anchorman writer/director Adam McKay). Both are raunchy, and full of cursing, and explore the less-saccharine side of female friendship. Both even have a common cast member, Rebel Wilson.

But it would be a mistake to call Bachelorette "the next Bridesmaids. There are obvious problems in the comparison: Bachelorette was in production before Bridesmaids, and where Bridesmaids was rolled out to great fanfare all over the country—it'll be a while before I forget the sight of Ellie Kemper painted ten stories tall onto the side of a New York City building—Bachelorette started out on the festival route, and is only in 20 cities (though it's been available on demand and on iTunes for a few weeks). But the more significant difference between the two films lies in their content. For all that they have in common, Bachelorette is a good deal darker than the movie that gave us everyone's favorite pooping-in-the street scene. It cuts deeper, but its cynicism comes at the expense of laughs and broad appeal.

There is no rah-rah sisterhood in this movie, no best-friends-forever-no-matter-what bullshit, no Wilson Phillips to play the movie out.

Regan (Dunst), Gena (Caplan), Katie (Fisher), and Becky (Wilson) made up a close-knit group in high school: the Bitchfaces. Regan, Gena, and Katie were all considered the pretty girls, and Becky was the odd Bitchface out. Other kids taunted Becky as "Pigface" because of her weight. As it turns out, so did the other Bitchfaces - just not when she was around. Katie and Gena spent the decade since high school in a kind of extended adolescence: partying, getting high, and working in dead-end jobs. Regan laments that she "did everything right" - she went to college, works in a do-gooder job, and is dating a medical student - and yet, "nothing is happening for her." In other words, she's not married.

Ten years after graduation, the dynamic of talking behind Becky's back seems to have endured. Regan's horrified when Becky announces that she's engaged; the Bitchface consensus had been that Regan would be the first among them to tie the knot. When the four reunite on the weekend of the wedding, Regan, Jenna, and Katie wreak all sorts of havoc, most of it borne of their own self-absorption: destroying Becky's wedding dress, trashing her hotel room, and inflicting a good deal of emotional damage as well.

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Chloe Angyal is a freelance writer and an editor at Feministing. She is currently working on a book about romantic comedies.

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