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While the Bridesmaids parallels are unavoidable, Leslye Headland’s filmmaking debut, Bachelorette, could be called a significantly darker and raunchier version of a female rom-com.
And while the antics of Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan will prompt laughs, gasps and groans from audiences when it opens Sept. 6, the film’s writer-director says that someday, her comedy will seem “tame.”
“Jane Austen, when she was writing Emma, said that she wanted to create a protagonist that only she could love,” Headland tells THR. “And now everybody loves that novel, so I feel like in 100 years [these characters] will seem tame.”
Earning a 54 percent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film seemingly has struggled with critics, including THR‘s David Rooney, because of the sheer unlikability of its protagonists. Despite a top-notch cast and plenty of snappy dialogue, the group’s redeeming qualities are minimal. It’s worth noting that the film is based on Headland’s off-Broadway play — of her seven deadly sins series — in which the characters are supposed to represent gluttony.
Responding to the critics, Caplan says: “I think you see why they’re unlikable towards the end. You get a little taste of why they are the way that they are. Hopefully, we manage to make them somewhat likable because you have to kind of root for these terrible devil women.”
Adds Headland: “I think that the way that I see people is that people want certain things, and then it’s been my experience that they do things that are almost in direct contrast of what it is that they want. And that seems interesting to me. So when I was writing it, it did occur to me, ‘Oh gosh, this might upset some people.’ “
Cast in a new light in the film is Rebel Wilson, who, playing the bride-to-be, maintains a safe distance from her cohorts’ rampant drug use and stinging insults.
“When I saw the role of Becky, I actually thought it would be an acting challenge for me,” Wilson tells THR. “I’m used to playing the really outrageous characters, whereas in Bachelorette, I kind of have to be the nicer, more grounded straight man to the girls.”
Aside from thematic elements, Bachelorette also shares a scene-stealer with Bridesmaids. Wilson appeared as Kristen Wiig‘s tattooed roommate in the Universal comedy and earlier this year told THR that the cast and crew had nicknamed her “The Lucky Charm.”
“They hope this does as well as Bridesmaids,” she said at the film’s Sundance premiere. “But I think if people come to this expecting Bridesmaids 2, they’ll be very shocked because tonally it’s a completely different movie. It’s so dark and edgy and a lot more dramatic.”
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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