A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the women at the center of Bachelorette spend a very debauched night drinking, swearing, getting high, and hooking up, all while cutting one another down with mean-spirited remarks. This raunchy, hard-R comedy has elements in common with both The Hangover and Bridesmaids -- i.e. sometimes-immature/selfish adults engaged in highly questionable activities. It's quite funny, but it certainly doesn't show people at their best. Expect plenty of drug use (especially cocaine) and drinking, near nonstop swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and many more), some graphic sexual discussions, talk of a character's history of bulimia, and a few sex scenes and encounters with strippers, though no actual nudity.
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What's the story?
Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher), three best friends from high school, reunite to celebrate the impending wedding of the fourth member of their quartet, Becky (Rebel Wilson). Over the course of a long, raucous, and debauched BACHELORETTE party night, the friends race around New York hoping to repair a badly damaged wedding dress, while first establishing that they actually aren't always especially good friends and then making up for their actions, somewhat, by trying to support one another when they really need it. The madcap night starts with a male stripper in a hotel suite, but (fueled by abundant liquor and cocaine) the group is soon searching for a bridal shop with late-night hours and then trying to track down the groom and his pals at a strip club. As dawn nears, it's not clear whether they'll make it to the wedding at all ... and will Becky be forced to walk down the aisle in her pajamas?
Is it any good?
Bachelorette starts off sour but gets sweeter as it goes. The main characters are mean-spirited, unhappy, and bitter. They were all best friends in high school but have grown up (sort of) to become the kind of people you might be glad to have left behind after graduation. It's not entirely clear what keeps them together besides plenty of history -- and that's a shame, since they aren't especially friendly to one another, nor to anyone else. But as the manic evening progresses, we learn more about what shaped them, humanizing them almost enough.
Dunst is especially great as an unlikable control freak who excels at micromanaging every detail of the wedding event while alienating everyone around her, and Caplan stands out as the damaged girl who still can't get over her high school boyfriend (Adam Scott). Bachelorette belongs in the same category of raunchy adult comedies as The Hangover and Bridesmaids, and while it's plenty funny, it's also perhaps the one film in the bunch that also seems realistic. (The real-life tinge of bitterness is also what makes it not quite as funny as the other two films.) These characters, who seem so unpleasant at first, eventually all become people you might really know. But you still might not like them. And therein lies the rub.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of raunchy comedies like Bachelorette. Whom do they appeal to, and why? Do you think such comedies are getting raunchier?
Talk about the film's excessive depiction of violence, sex, and substance abuse -- is the film condoning or glorifying this kind of behavior, or showing its dangers and consequences?
Do Regan, Becky, Gena, and Katie seem like real friends? Do they support one another or cut one another down? Does this dynamic seem realistic?
- In theaters: September 7, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: March 19, 2013
- Cast: Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Rebel Wilson
- Director: Leslye Headland
- Studio: Radius TWC
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, pervasive language and drug use
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