By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
There is no trip to Vegas, or Bangkok, in “Bachelorette.” There is, however, a hangover, and quite a bit of evidence that women can get just as messed up on the eve of a wedding as guys can.
The ladies of “Bachelorette” are old friends, gathered for a wild weekend when Becky (Rebel Wilson) gets married. Big-boned Becky has actually grown marginally mature, and misses most of the madness of the night before.
Not at all grown up are her three friends: Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher). Before the vows are exchanged, they will leave a trail of catty one-liners, cocaine dust and obscure references to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Beverly Hills 90210.”
There’s also the issue of a torn wedding dress, which needs to be cleaned and repaired before morning. Should be no problem.
The dress and the deadline give the movie a ticking clock that keeps the beat marching along. That’s good, because writer-director Leslye Headland does not really have the touch for performances or mood, yet the movie keeps going and eventually you want to kick along with it.
The performers are shrewdly cast. Kirsten Dunst gets her second bad wedding movie (granted, it’s hard to top “Melancholia” for catastrophic consequences), and she plays the uptight friend who is both annoying because of her perfectionism but also needed when the chips are down. And the chips are down pretty much all weekend.
Lizzy Caplan, who was in “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “Cloverfield,” is the foul-mouthed hedonist in the group, and may secretly be the one with the most soul. Caplan is a sneaky actress, and if she overdoes the agitator bit, she makes up for it with a certain underlying sadness—an interesting note in an otherwise boisterous movie.
Isla Fisher, the kook from “Wedding Crashers,” has a tougher time, because her role is ditzy and outrageous, but also capable of a couple of alarming moments. The part might be impossible to play, although Fisher has some funny line readings.
Key male parts are gamely filled by James Marsden and Adam Scott, although they tend to play second fiddle to the female characters, which is as it should be in a movie called “Bachelorette.”
But we could note that Scott, a regular on “Parks and Recreation,” has quietly turned into one of the most welcome scene stealers in movies over the last few years.
I can’t say the film justifies a trip to the multiplex, because it’s not firing on all cylinders. But as a rental for countless bachelorette weekends to come, it fits the bill.
“Bachelorette” (2½ stars)
Maybe not quite good enough for a trip to the multiplex, but definitely suited for an all-female party night: This over-the-top comedy puts some old friends in a crisis involving a torn wedding dress on the night before the wedding. Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan lead the cast.
Rated: R for language, subject matter.
Showing: Pacific Place.