A Second (or Third) Look: Bachelorette (2012)


Has anyone else seen this movie?  Originally released on-demand in 2012, the movie is available to stream on Netflix as of now.  Instead of doing a straight-up review of the movie, I thought I’d talk a little bit about revisiting this movie and why my opinion of it has changed.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, so I figured it was time.

park benchBachelorette is about a group of friends from high school who come together in their late twenties to “celebrate” the wedding of their friend Becky (Rebel Wilson).  The other girls who complete the quadrangle are Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher).  Regan is a control freak who cannot believe she isn’t the first to get married, Gena is a fuck-up who spends her days recovering from the night before and uses sarcasm and drugs to avoid issues in her past, and Katie is a ditzy, flighty shop clerk.

Things go from bad (after a stripper refers to Becky by her terrible high school nickname of “Pigface” the night before the wedding comes to a quick and somber end for her) to worse when the three remaining girls rip apart Becky’s wedding dress when trying to take a picture for Facebook of two of them wearing it at once.  The rest of the night is spent trying to fix the dress, but it’s also spent with the majority of them getting really fucked up on coke, pills, and alcohol.

To say that this is a dark comedy is starkly clear from the summary of the film.  But it’s also a biting, smart look at how venomous female friendships can be, as well as where that venom comes from.  Some people call it anti-feminist, but I think they’re actually super wrong.

The first time I watched this movie, I didn’t like it.  I was uncomfortable with how mean it was (it is really, really mean), and it didn’t gel for me.  The second time I watched it was after yet another girl on Facebook got engaged and I decided I needed something mean to make me feel less exasperated with the state of affairs on my Facebook feed.  The weird thing was, the second time I watched it, I kind of liked it.cleaning

Then I watched it a third time (whatever guys, what I do with my time is my choice), and the strangest realization came over me: the movie was really, really funny, and I also sort of loved it (there’s the problem of the film’s third and weakest act, which tries pretty hard to redeem the characters, but that’s another story).  But why did I suddenly love it so much more than I did the first time?

I don’t actually have an answer to that.  Like a lot of things, I think the way that we react to media we consume has a great deal to do with where we are physically, mentally, and emotionally at the time.  I’m certain my relationship to this movie has changed as my interpersonal relationships with some of my girlfriends has over the past year or so.  In fact, of that I am positive.

This movie does some interesting things with the female friendships in the film, and it’s worth watching for that examination alone.  There’s also the fact that with the exception of Wilson, who I can’t decide about as an actress, the movie is pretty fantastically cast.  Dunst, who can be polarizing, is absolutely perfect as the incredibly bitchy, incredibly unhappy Regan.  Caplan is incredible as the deeply wounded Gena, and Fisher is at her bubbly finest as a girl who is a complete mess in a completely different way than her friends.

The movie is based on an off-Broadway play.  It’s definitely going to have people who get it and love it and those who don’t.  It’s okay to feel either way about it.  But it’s definitely worth a viewing.


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