'Bachelorette' Review: Girl Power Blackout

Here's a quote sure to please the marketers of the new film "Bachelorette" - the movie is smarter, sharper and more biting than "Bridesmaids."

"Bachelorette" is also frequently unkind to its wild and wacky female leads and reminds us girl power isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

The new film follows three friends who arrive to party hardy for their old pal's wedding. But these friends packed more than just some recreational cocaine. They have issues, and they're jealous that their friend, a zaftig woman played by "Bridesmaids" co-star Rebel Wilson, found the altar before they did.


Becky (Wilson) is giddy that her three high school pals will be on hand to celebrate her wedding. She shouldn't be so enthusiastic. 

Regan (Kirsten Dunst) is a control freak who is openly jealous of Becky's good fortune. Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is more concerned about seeing her old flame (Adam Scott) than toasting Becky's new beau. And Katie (Isla Fisher) could be charitably described as a mess.

Put the three bridesmaids together and you get ... one ripped wedding dress. Can the girls put aside their emotional baggage long enough to stitch the dress and save the wedding day?

"Bachelorette" traffics in the sort of dirty talk Howard Stern routinely brings to his SiriusXM showcase - but from a decidedly female point of view. We get details about oral sex as the ultimate power play and hear beautiful women extol the virtues of cocaine without overt "don't do drugs" messaging.

The consequences of their behavior are considerable, and the astute screenplay from writer/director Leslye Headland refuses to fall for cheap resolutions.

The film struggles early on with the lack of friendship at play. Do these girls even like Becky? Their co-bond is obvious, if seemingly artificially based, but the film lets the fractured relationships grow in increments as the story marches along.

And there's nary a wasted moment here. The quieter scenes have an impact without any manufactured "big laughs" to get in the way. The script delivers the humor in sharp, stinging assaults, the pop culture references are wisely moderated, and the cast members act as if they've been doing this kind of slick, rapid fire comedy for years.

Dunst is the real revelation, deftly balancing her character's power grabs without letting us forget the hurt that drives it. James Marsden, cast as an impossibly handsome cad, digs deeper than required and gets some meaty laughs for his troubles.

"Bachelorette" won't leave audiences with the fizzy jolt "Bridesmaids" delivered. Instead, the film braces us with a series of girl power comeuppances that still celebrate the unique bond between old friends.


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