Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The specter of an infinitely superior predecessor also haunts the new comedy "Bachelorette," a wan "Bridesmaids" wannabe. I recently re-watched "Bridesmaids" (and the other comedy on my 2011 top-ten list, "Carnage"). Just as funny the second time, and Melissa McCarthy's role remains one of the freshest and most original comic characters in memory. There's nothing of that caliber in "Bachelorette," though it does contain a few chuckles and a couple of scattered laughs. Rebel Wilson, Kristen Wiig's skin-crawling roommate in "Bridesmaids," plays the bride here, but Kirsten Dunst gets the lead as her ultra-competent, type-A maid of honor.

After Dunst's towering performance in last year's best film, "Melancholia," it's a shame to have to say the obvious: She's no Kristen Wiig, and Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher are no Rose Byrne and Maya Rudolph. Several scenes - mishaps with the bride's dress, reception toasts gone wrong - serve only to make you nostalgic for the earlier film. "Bachelorette" never finds its own comic tone or timing, and the vulgarity that enhanced the laughs in "Bridesmaids" just thuds here. What planet does a movie take place on, in which a groomsman's toast clinically detailing his sexual encounter with a bridesmaid the night before is greeted by the assembled families and guests with applause rather than a call to event security?

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