Thursday, September 6, 2012
"The Bachelorette" Is Not "Bridesmaids!" by Pamela Powell
The movie "The Bachelorette" was based on a play that my friends and I happened to see in a little store-front theater on the north side of Chicago. I didn't go there to review the play, I just went with friends as a birthday get-together. This intimate (and I do mean intimate) theater was like being IN the play yourself! We sat in the second row and I could have actually interacted with the actors. I chose this play based on recommendations of area reviewers. My, oh my, it was a TAD bit different than the reviews had expressed. My jaw was on the floor for a good portion of the show. As we were so close to the actors, I found myself doing my own acting as I didn't want to hurt their feelings with my expressions. This play was harsh. The language, the smoking, and the relationship issues were jaw-dropping! As my two friends and I got up to leave, no one looked at each other. We walked in silence toward our martini, I mean dinner, destination until we all broke out laughing! We had the same interpretation of this play...disbelief. My friends also call me Julie The Cruise Director as I always want to coordinate and make sure everyone has fun. All I could say was,"I'm so sorry! I had no idea it would be like that! The reviews were something completely different! I thought it was going to be funny!" (Our other play option was "How to Kill Your Husband" or something along those lines. We figured our husbands might take offense at that one! Or stop eating our food we make them!) Thankfully, I have two wonderful friends who didn't mind and we set forth walking toward our beverage/dinner destination. A dark and rather depressing play wasn't going to hamper our celebration. As my interpretation of "walking distance" is different from my friend's interpretation of the same, we grabbed a cab and began to discuss the movie. Interestingly, even though we all perceived it as rather harsh and in-your-face, it stimulated a lot of conversation about friendships and what they mean. We concluded that even though it wasn't that ha-ha funny play we had anticipated, a play that can make you think and analyze your thoughts and feelings about a topic can't be bad.
Now on to the movie. Unfortunately, for me, "The Bachelorette" was a hot-ticket at Sundance so once again, I missed it there. I did see it on demand recently, to compare and contrast the two productions. The filmmakers got it right. They took this screenplay and tempered it while actually making it better. Both the film and the play have the same premise: The least attractive woman in the group of four from high school (Becky played by Rebel Wilson) found herself engaged to be married to a wonderfully handsome and rich man who absolutely adored her. Regan (Kirsten Dunst), the only friend living near-by is saddled with the burden of Maid of Honor. Regan is the control freak of the group who had all her ducks in a row, or so she thought. The green-eyed monster took hold of Regan and pulled her along on a wild ride with the other two friends, Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher), both with their own baggage of drugs and self-loathing. This ride showed the women's true colors which almost destroyed Becky's wedding. With anger, immaturity, and jealousy at the helm, these women make one bad decision after the other. Their ride was an interesting one which plunged into each of the characters lives. This back story with love interests including Gena and Clyde (both stars from the cable show Party Down) was not the focus of the movie, but added to the common theme of how four childhood friends grow up and support each other in some way...or don't! Although there was a lot of drug use, a bit of sex, some harsh language, and scandalous behavior, it was still significantly toned down from the play. You found yourself understanding some of the behavior, being repulsed by a lot of it, and also having some empathy for the characters. This is what lacked in the play. I had no empathy for any of them.
This wasn't "Bridesmaids" so don't go into the theater thinking it's going to be a laugh a minute. It's about women and their difficulty in relating to each other. It's also about friendship and choices we make. I'm hoping this movie isn't too true to life because I like knowing that my friends are there for me no matter what! I also know they are happy when I succeed and I'm there for them as well!