Friday, October 19

Bachelorette


Three friends (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher) are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman (Rebel Wilson) they used to ridicule back in high school. 

Raunchy, pre-wedding shenanigans, hijinks, tomfoolery, screw-ups and the like? Sound a bit like Bridesmaids? The comparisons have been made, with reason. Both about weddings, both centre on the slightly more interesting Bridesmaids and both are ultimately about friendship. Nevertheless, where Bridesmaids drew a line for debauchery and edged near it, Bachelorette dances on and around the line so hard that it turns to dust. I suppose the biggest difference between Bachelorette and Bridesmaids, and probably the biggest criticism that I've heard of Bachelorette is that these are not nice people.
"You know how there are like serial killers and then there's Hannibal Lecter? There are girls, and then there's Regan."


The microcosm that is high-school can be a fascinating thing, the idea that a small group (of usually three or four girls) can be elevated to such a high-standing that they basically run the place, is pretty unbelievable (granted this estimation might not actually be true, most of my knowledge in this area comes from US teen films). So what happens when you take away the confines of school, and all the power and adoration that comes with it? Well in this case you get Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Katie (Isla Fisher) and Gena (Lizzy Caplan). Regan is the archetypal "Queen Bee" of teen films - cold, manipulative, mean, controlling and narcissistic - think Heather Chandler if she hadn't drank the Draino or Regina George before the bus hit her; Katie, continuing in the Mean Girls theme, is Karen Smith with her abundance of cleavage and sexual favours on offer, but seriously lacking in brainpower; Whilst Gena (who ironically can't be compared to a Mean Girls character - Caplan played Janis Ian in the film) hasn't made a responsible decision since she was 15 years old, and probably has her drug dealer on speed dial. Together they are "The B Faces", which I assume stands for "bitch", in that way at least they are consistent. 

So, I completely understand why people don't like the characters, they're horrible, we've established that, but why is it a problem? Why do we have this idea that to enjoy a film we have to love the characters? As an example, one of the most popular TV shows on television at the moment is Mad Men, but you're dreaming if you think it 's because Don Draper is such a mensch. No, Don is an adulterous ego maniac and no doubt all the the others at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce have a shopping list of issues (yes, even my beloved Peggy). But does that detract from the fact that they are fascinating characters, and that it's an amazing show? I'm not suggesting this is an amazing film or that the characters are as multifaceted and fascinating as those on Mad Men, because they aren't, but if you are expecting them to have learnt a lesson or to have a group hug by the closing credits, you are watching the wrong film.


Of course the nastiness extends past the three main characters, but it's probably best to start with the most reprehensible, the Maid of Honour, Regan played by Kirsten Dunst. Those that know me, know I have a history with Kirsten Dunst. I mean, Kirsten Dunst doesn't know we have a "history", because she doesn't know me, but believe me, it's there. Since I started my obsession with teen films, which actually started when I watched Clueless aged 10 years old, I have severely disliked Kirsten Dunst. Of course, now I will admit it is completely irrational, but then? The amount of films I have not watched because they star Kirsten Dunst is in them, is incredible. It wasn't until recently I realised that some of my favourite films actually starred her - Drop Dead Gorgeous, Jumanji, Dick and Bring It On to name a few - then I watched this film, and I started to realise that she's not that terrible at all, and that she's quite a good actress and that was the exact moment I started to like Kirsten Dunst, all thanks to this film. I think the main reason I previously disliked Dunst is that she came across as a little 'detached' in interviews that I saw her in, but perhaps this is why she plays the part of Regan so well. Dunst does cold-hard-bitch impeccably, but she also hits deeper nuances of the character; she's cold because she still craves the distanced adoration from her peers, she's self-absorbed because she's incredibly insecure and she's controlling because she feels unfulfilled. 

What of her other B's? Well they (or the actors that play them) were partly the reason I watched the film. I have liked Isla Fisher since, I admit, Home & Away and have been following Lizzy Caplan since The Class got cancelled. Their characters on the other hand, don't actually seem as cold as Regan, but that may simply be because they are a lot more pathetic at face value. One of the reasons I love seeing Isla Fisher in films is that she's become a great comedic actress; where Dunst plays the perfect bitch, Fisher plays the ditz with finesse. Nevertheless, as with Regan/Dunst, Katie/Fisher has the more subtle sadder moments where you see that beneath the upbeat, fun-loving facade, life after being the Prom Queen is actually quite a lonely existence. One of my favourite parts of the film, is a moment where in a drugged haze Katie can't remember the name of the man she'd planned on sleeping with. On the surface it's funny moment as she struggles to think of a name, but the subtext is that she's lonely, wanton, rejected and used. Whilst Katie uses drugs to avoid acknowledging how sad she is, Gena on the other hand uses the drugs as an excuse to avoid making an adult decision or living an adult life, in her own words "I'm not married, and I'm not an adult either"; having been forced by her high-school boyfriend (played by Adam Scott)  to make an incredibly 'adult' decision as a teenager, she lives her life in a way that ensures she never has to make a decision again, whilst all the while relating her life to that of a fifteen year old girl's.


Whilst still discussing deplorable characters, an honorable, or dishonourable, mention goes to James Marsden, who plays the cad of a best man, Trevor, extremely well. I don't think I've ever seen Marsden play the sleaze before, and I was honestly surprised by how well he played him.

As you've probably gathered I really did enjoy this film, I do however have a couple of complaints. Firstly, I didn't understand why the three bridesmaids (Regan, Jenna and Katie) were friends with the bride, Becky. Not a superficial comment about Rebel Wilson, nor relating to the fact that they talk about her behind her back (if you think that even your closest friend doesn't make the odd negative remark behind your back, well, you're a better person than I), but it's the fact that their friendship lacked consistency. Despite their differences - Regan the self-absorbed control-freak, Jenna the irresponsible woman living in the past and Katie the insecure hot mess - they actually seemed to show caring and affection for each other. Whereas their relationsip with Becky flip-flopped between reminiscing about times spent gossiping in toilets and suggesting that the only way a man would want to marry Becky is if she had a 'magic vagina'. Perhaps it's another comment on how the three women still live in their past and the presence of Becky reminds them of a time when they were in control of their lives, but that is an assumption I've made after lots of deliberation and re-watching clips.

The second criticism is surprisingly not as important, but should be noted nonetheless. There really is not much of a plot. Yes, as the description states 'three friends reunite for their friend's wedding', there's the plot device of something bad happening and them trying to fix it, to keep the film moving, but aside from that  not much happens in terms of a devised 'story'. Much in the same way that nothing really happens in films like The Hangover, this film follows the same vein - nobody learns anything, nobody  grows from their experience and they carry on living about as happy as they were before.

That final criticism in itself is why I loved the film, it's realistic, like the plot these characters have obvious flaws -at times they're superficial, silly and undeveloped; But sometimes things don't turn out as perfect as you expect them to, sometimes people are terrible and sometimes they don't have a miraculous change of character in 90 minutes.



3 comments:

  1. I want to watch this sooooo badly, it's gonna be totes amaze! So glad I clicked on your comment that led me back to your blog, and oh yeah I totes followed you since your posts' contents are info and image juicy so expect to be seeing some regular comments from me, you don't have to follow me back don't worry. Btw, check out my new Amish looking outfit post wearing a design by Sandra from 5 inch and up x Nelly, also featuring meeting the wonderful and sweet designer herself! :D

    xx The Provoker
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2012/10/meeting-sandra.html

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  2. I want to see this movie :D xoxo, http://francoisbresmal.blogspot.com/

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  3. Thank you both for visiting!

    Nathan, that's really sweet of you to say. Thank you following, I'm glad you enjoyed reading my blog!

    x

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