I first saw 'Bachelorette' when it premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The rushed shoot had wrapped only several weeks before and the edit was described as very rough. Revisiting it now, over a year later, the cut seemed just as strong as I remember it being, but the picture as a whole doesn't work as well as I remember it.
It's impossible to talk about 'Bachelorette' without comparing it to 'Bridesmaids.' Both are about a crass and raunchy group of girls prior to "the big day" – but if you thought that 'Bridesmaids' was crude, you haven't seen anything yet. When it comes to vile vulgarity, 'Bachelorette' takes the wedding cake.
After the success of 'Pitch Perfect,' the Weinsteins have placed Rebel Wilson on both the back and front panel cover art. Truthfully, she doesn't deserve to be on it. Wilson is to 'Bachelorette' as Justin Bartha is to 'The Hangover' - both play the bride/groom-to-be that paves the way for the groomsmen/bridesmaids to get into some unbelievable shenanigans. Just as Bartha bookends 'The Hangover,' 'Wilson' bookends 'Bridesmaids' and isn't present enough to be considered one of the leading roles, much less a character worthy of the cover art. Unlike "Fat Amy" in 'Pitch Perfect,' Wilson doesn't even play a comedic character here. Of all the bitches and douchebags that surround her, she's the only sane one. She's the straight character. If you're expecting "Fat Amy," be prepared for disappointment.
'Bachelorette' is extremely dark – I'm talking cocaine, overdosing, sex in a public bathroom with a stranger, and abortion dark. Friends since high school, Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), Katie (Isla Fisher) and Becky (Wilson) are being reunited. In school they were known as the "B-faces." Although the "B" is never explained, one can only assume that it means "bitch." In the decade since graduation, the only one to get her life in order is Becky. Being the leader of the pack who went to a prestigious school and played life by the book, Regan thought that she would be the first to get married, so Becky's announcement comes as a blow to the ego. While she's still the helpful Maid of Honor, she's also fighting to cope with not being the first to get hitched.
Mind you, aside from Becky, none of the B-faces are likeable characters. The "B" is there for a reason. Katie is a superficial airhead with absolutely no self-esteem. She's not unlikeable, but she becomes selfish and rude once cocaine and alcohol are introduced to her system. Gena is a conceded and judgmental slut. She glides through life on waves of drugs and one-nighters. But Regan is the most unlikeable of them all. She has not only got a stick up her ass, but she's rude, condescending and, at one point, is deemed a "C" word. When the bachelorette party goes awry, the worst of this trio comes out.
After pissing off the bride, the inebriated trio thinks it would be funny for two of them to squeeze into her wedding dress and text the picture to Becky. Of course, they tear the dress and with seven hours until the bride wakes up, they set out on a late night mission around New York City to get the dress repaired.
While the majority of the film strives for dark laughs, there are a few honest moments that really open it up. In specific, Gena spends part of the wild evening with her ex-boyfriend Clyde (Adam Scott). These scenes of reconnection are genuine. We get a smaller dose of this with Katie and a guy friend that she meets over the course of the night. Sadly, these moments are brief and fleeting. When I think back on the film, these are the scenes that I remember. None of the trying-to-be comedic moments stuck with me one year after seeing it at Sundance, but these scenes did.
'Bachelorette' is worth a watch if you've got absolutely nothing else to do and no expectations whatsoever. It's entertaining enough, but nothing worth racing out to buy or share with friends. I've now seen it twice and I'm content never watching it again.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The Weinstein Company has given Anchor Bay the task of making 'Bachelorette' Blu. This Region A BD-25 arrives in a blue Elite keepcase with generic cover art featuring a cropped frame from the film. Prior to getting to the main menu, there are forced Anchor Bay and Weinstein Company vanity reels and skippable trailers for 'The Details,' 'Butter' and 'Lay the Favorite.'
Being a BD-25, I expected the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode of 'Bachelorette' to be problematic. Much to my pleasant surprise, the video quality is actually very strong, much better than most indie flicks gone Blu. All it's lacking to become a reference quality disc is a little extra oomph in the way of details.
Being a very dark comedy, the black levels are inky and rich. With most of the film taking place in barely lit or exterior nighttime settings, it feels like engineers who transferred this film are just bragging about how great their black levels are. Creating a stark contrast is vibrant lighting and colorization. From brilliant colors of costumes and fancy hotel pools to the occasionally overly saturated neon strip club lighting, the palette and use of it within 'Bachelorette' is very appealing to the eye. Truthfully, the cinematography, look, and style is much better than it should be.
Fine details are almost always present. Shot on digital Red One cameras, the picture quality is always pristine, sharp and crystal clear. The tiniest of facial pores, hair follicles and clothing fibers can be seen throughout the majority of the film. There aren't many, but some shots throughout lose that richness of texture and depth. Barely on the soft side, the picture falls flat. Please keep in mind that these shots are few and far between.
As expected from a new digital production, edge enhancement and DNR are not applied and there's not a single instance of banding or noise – which is the opposite of my expectations upon learning that 'Bachelotte' was placed on a BD-25.
Just as the video quality did, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track of 'Bachelorette' caught me completely off guard. The sound mix didn't catch my attention during my theatrical screening (mind you, it took place in a makeshift theater in small library auditorium), but the Blu-ray experience is definitely attention-grabbing.
'Bachelorette' isn't the type of film to carry phenomenal sound offerings, but where it really stands out is in subtle environmental effects mixing. Every single scene – be it in a high-end restaurant, a crappy L.A. apartment, in the back of coach seating in a stuffy airplane fuselage, a pretentious clothing store, a crowded airport, the bustling New York City streets or a swanky strip club – carries a significant amount of enhancing audio effects. They're mixed throughout all the channels accordingly and even show off some great imaging (typically with cars or planes passing by).
I personally can't stand it when movies use seemingly non-stop, unfitting and generic "scores" to fill the space. 'Red' is the perfect example of this. Sadly, 'Bachelorette' suffers from this same low budget flaw. While I'm not letting my personal distaste for this flavor of music affect my rating of the audio, I must mention that as bad as the music sounds and as against-the-tone as it may be, it is also very well mixed throughout all channels.
My only true rating-knocking complaint comes from the fluctuating levels of the vocal track. Amidst the great mixing of everything else, from time to time, the vocal track slips too low. Soft dialog is buried beneath the rest of the sound. While this flaw is probably the most notable of the entire disc, it still isn't a fatal one because it isn't consistent.
'Bachelorette' is the perfect example of a rental flick. Is it worth watching? Yes - if you like dark crude comedies - but I learned the hard way that it depreciates in value with a second viewing. The bitterness of the characters is funny on the first viewing, but each becomes grating and unlikeable with multiple viewings. The darkness of the film becomes heavier and the subject matter sticks out like an uncomfortable sore thumb aside the actual comedy. The flaws become much more obvious when shocking content is no longer making you pick your jaw up off the floor. On the plus side, if you're going to give 'Bachelorette' a single viewing – like I suggest – then the Blu-ray's presentation will impress you. The video quality is near perfect and the audio mix is pretty strong. As expected from indie flicks, the disc is sparse in the way of special features. If you're looking to add a film like this to your collection, go buy 'Bridesmaids.' 'Bachelorette' is a rental at best.