Bridesmaids and Bachelorette: Two female-written comedies about women getting petty and raunchy at weddings. Inevitably they’ll be compared, especially since both are about wedding hijinks (and ugly dresses). So we knew the only way to tackle the release of Bachelorette was to have our Editorial Director Meghan Keane and Crushable’s Natalie Zutter each take a side. Warning: Some foul language — we were inspired by the R-rated dialogue — and vague spoilers for the end of Bachelorette that discuss the ending but don’t ruin it.
Natalie: I really liked Bachelorette, for being so unabashedly dark and portraying women as downright ugly, jealous, vindictive creatures. But as a package deal, I still prefer Bridesmaids. It’s consistently funny from the get-go: The first ten minutes are a nonstop barrage of jokes that just land, like Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s imitation of a penis. Even when the humor dips into the ridiculous, the cast sells it and their energy never flags, so you go along with everything they throw at you. Bridesmaids is the most accurate representation I’ve seen of all the petty rivalries of female friendship—especially all the sequences with Wiig vs. Rose Byrne—but it doesn’t depress you the way Bachelorette does. It’s got a larger cast with incredible skill for improvisation, the scenes range from tender to absurd to laugh-out-loud funny, and Chris O’Dowd is the most adorable love interest. Simply put, it feels like you get the most bang for your buck.
Meghan: I am glad that Bridesmaids happened, for the simple reason that everyone has since decided that women can in fact be funny and write/star in a movie about women. Was Kristen Wiig funny in it? Yes. Was her relationship with Maya Rudolph awesome? Yes. Was it a great ensemble filled with funny moments? Yes. But was it a good/coherent movie? …I don’t think so?
If the point of Bridesmaids was to prove that women can make a movie as nonsensically over the top as The Hangover, then it was a massive success. In fact, it was a pretty big success regardless of what I thought of it. But it wasn’t the kind of movie where I found myself saying “Yes! Yes! This is the movie I’ve always wanted!”
In fact, the biggest takeaway of Bridesmaids seems to be that women can make poop jokes as good as any man. If that’s what you’ve been waiting for all these years, then Bridesmaids is your movie. For me, I’m just glad that Bridesmaids making money in movie theaters means movies like Bachelorette can be made now.
I know most people will disagree with me on this, but I really liked Bachelorette. In a way, it seems more important to me, because it was so unapologetic with it’s drug use, eating disorder issues and bitchiness. I want to see more movies where women get to do things they don’t apologize for. Was it perfect? No. But at least the plot was coherent.
Natalie: Sure, the plot of Bachelorette was coherent, but that was because it takes place over one focused, 24-hour period. Which made it an excellent play and translates fairly well to the big screen. However, in many ways it comes across as unrealistic, because it’s difficult to believe that in the span of a few hours these women would cart a wedding dress all over Manhattan, smear it with semen at a strip club, bleed all over it, and get it mixed up with trash on the street. Add to that the fact that they just keep taking drugs to stay awake, and it becomes this relentless caricature. For me personally, the sign of a good movie is one I’d want to rewatch over and over. I’ve only seen Bridesmaids twice, but the second time I caught on to plenty of little visual gags and asides I missed the first time. I can’t imagine wanting to watch Bachelorette a second time.
Meghan: Sure. It’s a movie, it’s not perfectly realistic. But at least they gave a nod to how preposterous the whole thing was. The dress wasn’t totally fixed when Rebel Wilson walked down the aisle. Unlike in Bridesmaids, where we were supposed to pretend like Maya Rudolph looked awesome in her dress monstrosity.
Do you remember how AWFUL that dress was? And then they ripped off a sleeve and presto! It was nice again? Except it was still AWFUL?
If you’re talking about movies you’d want to see repeatedly, I actually prefer watching terrible movies whenever they are on TV. Sex and The City? Sure. Sex And The City 2: Jumping The Arabian Shark? Even better. I’ve actually never watched Eat Pray Love on purpose, but I could watch Julia Roberts pretend to be silent in an ashram as many times as TBS is willing to let me. That doesn’t make it a good movie.
I would watch Bachelorette again just to see the sexual tension between Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott. I would watch anything that the two of them are in. Bachelorette was a great reminder of how not terrible Adam Scott could be as a love interest. It’s hard to remember, because he’s so impotent on Parks And Rec.
Natalie: And because they won’t stop talking about how effeminate he is in Friends with Kids! Let’s talk about the characters from both. As much as I adore Lizzy Caplan, and Kirsten Dunst does make a good bitch, Isla Fisher got annoying with her same manic coke bit, and the guys (Adam Scott, James Marsden) seemed incredibly one-note. I think that playwright-turned-screenwriter Leslye Headland was trying to illustrate gluttony by having the three mean girls be almost interchangeable and all on the same drugs, which is why I appreciated the various characters that Melissa McCarthy and co. brought to Bridesmaids. They may have been over-the-top, but there was more texture to their dynamic/interactions.
Meghan: I’m not going to argue that these are the best, most awesome characters ever created. Mostly, I just enjoyed watching this movie because it didn’t tie everything up with a big ugly bow at the end.
People — friends even — are shitty sometimes. Usually when someone is a bitch in a movie, she either has to learn a lesson or apologize and make nice at the end. But why?
Yes, Kirsten Dunst’s character was kind of a cunt. Maybe Bachelorette wasn’t super heartfelt and didn’t give the audience a pretty moral lesson at the end, but why do movies for women have to be all warm and cuddly at the end? Why apologize for everything that the movie’s about?
Natalie: See, I feel like by the end of Bridesmaids the characters did change—the dress notwithstanding, Kristen Wiig got back on her feet, Jon Hamm got his comeuppance, etc. Bachelorette may have had the awesome payoff of Rebel Wilson actually noticing that her dress was fucked up… but Kristen, Lizzy, and Isla’s characters don’t change one bit! I think if Bachelorette were going for the opposite of an apology/warm, gushy ending, then they should’ve committed to the darkness and killed off one of the women, or actually destroyed their friendship. As it stands, it came off uneven to me.
Meghan: Right, but that’s what annoyed me about Bridesmaids. Everything got tied up in a nice little bow and everyone who was mean apologized or got some crap for being an asshole. I don’t think you need to kill someone to get the point home about some people kind of being assholes, but I guess that would’ve been an even darker movie!
Poster: RADiUS/The Weinstein Company