52 Films By Women: Leslye Headland's 'Bachelorette' Is Hilariously Irredeemable
Sometime back in 2008, I saw the movie Step Brothers. Loved it. Laughed a bunch. They did karate in the basement. They said ‘Catalina Wine Mixer’ 700 times. They became best friends. I’m always good for a rewatch of Step Brothers.
But I think it was sometime after seeing Will and C Reily when I said to myself, ‘you know what I miss? A good written comedy.’
So, when Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids came out, I laughed a whole bunch. But I was also incredibly burned out on the ‘IT FEELS LIKE IMPROV’ style that has come to define most American comedy of the past decade and change. Our comedy has started to homogenize and feel more like a sitcom shoot. Here’s a bunch of cameras on sticks so that we catch everything Will and Wiig are about to make up. Yay. They’re gonna say funny things and its gonna feel really static and can we do something new?
And that’s why I fucking love 2012’s criminally overlooked Bachelorette so, so much. Writer/Director Leslye Headland (who also wrote the equally overlooked series Terriers) did something very simple that sets her film apart from a lot of comedies: she wrote a great script and then trusted a great cast to perform the shit out of what she wrote.
REVOLUTIONARY! I’m being a smart ass, but there is something so refreshing about this tight, well written comedy about three pieces of shit that come dangerously close to not being complete pieces of shit anymore that is incredibly rewarding on every rewatch.
Kirsten Dunst leads a trio of high school friends now well into adulthood that reunite to celebrate the wedding of a fourth, very clearly pity friend (Rebel Wilson) whose husband they don’t think she deserves because of her weight problems. They are the shittiest of people. But damn it, shitty people can show you a good time.
Dunst shines as an irredeemable mean girl along with the always perfect Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher, who is easily one of the most underrated and overlooked comedic actors of the past 20 years. Fight me on it.
They’re mean girls without out the distance Tina Fey is able to hold her villains at, or the wacky charm of Bridesmaids. These are three shitty women that are completely irredeemable. And yet? Between Headland’s writing and their performances, you’ll find yourself rooting for them. You’ll see the not shitty lurking under the shitty and you’ll love both. Bridesmaids taught us that the ladies can be just as gross as the guys, but Bachelorette taught us that they can be complicated, twisted, nasty, even brutal- and still worth cheering for.
Rounding out their ensemble is Adam Scott playing the standard rom com nice guy (who most of these movies would actually be about) refreshing this tired ass boring trope by making it a supporting character. And the powerhouse that is James Marsden, Hollywood’s MVP that can basically do anything. I’ve been sold heart and soul on Marsden since I saw him miss an angry jumpkick in the otherwise dumb movie Sex Drive right on through best Disney movie Enchanted. Here, he plays a complete piece of shit that’s somehow tolerable because, spoilers, he’s so hate fuckable.
It’s so odd that ‘I wrote a great script and got some great actors to make it with me’ is sort of novel, but there is a reason this movie made 2008’s Blacklist. It’s dense with jokes, incredibly layered, and irredeemably charming.
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