When it comes to the film industry, risky comedies starring women are scare. It seems that for every 10 movies like "The Hangover," there are one or two like "Bridesmaids." Leslye Headland's "Bachelorette" is one of those rare motion pictures that dare to feature inherently flawed female characters.
The film centers on Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher) as they endure the chaos of their friend Becky's (Rebel Wilson's) impending wedding. When they ruin her wedding gown during a cocaine-fueled prank, they must scramble to fix it before the ceremony, which is set to take place the following morning. Throughout the night, issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, promiscuity, and abortion come into play.
The movie, hitting U.S. theaters Friday, is being criticized for having "unlikable" female leads who are "behaving badly."
The criticism prompted Christopher Rosen of the Huffington Post, to defend the film in his post, "'Bachelorette' Movie: Why Leslye Headland's Comedy Is Too Uncomfortable For Some."
"The critiques of 'Bachelorette' -- those harshing on the characters for being selfish bad girls -- have an almost puritanical vibe to them," Rosen wrote. "No one told the guys in 'The Hangover' to get themselves together, so why should the ladies in 'Bachelorette' be chided for the same behavior? Well, perhaps because they're women and women shouldn't behave like that? That's at least one possible (and ugly) reason for the decorum police coming out against 'Bachelorette.'"
During a roundtable discussion about the film in New York this week, Dunst, Caplan, and Fisher agreed the characters in the movie are rarely featured in motion picture.
"I love the fact that I could play a [expletive deleted]," Dunst said. "That's such a fun thing to play. Girls [in films] always have to be sweet and nice ... not in this movie.
Dunst also said: "It's rare that you get to play women like this, and it usually is female writers who create these kinds of roles. So for me it was an opportunity that I hadn't had in a while."
For Fisher, Katie's likability wasn't an important factor when she signed to do the film.
"I don't think it's our job to like our characters," Fisher said. "Our job is to tell the story the way that the screenwriter and the director want it told. ... It's not up to us to say, 'I want to play (the character) likable.' We just have to commit and go for it. If we're going to be self-conscious and embarrassed, then we may as well not take those roles."
"I think this movie is really interesting because we're unlikable people, and I think that's what makes it different and cool," Dunst added. "I think it's an interesting social point that we're making with this film."
Since "Bridesmaids" grossed an impressive $288 million worldwide, studios are rushing to churn out similar projects. Last year, producer David T. Friendly noted (via the Hollywood Reporter) that Hollywood has been experiencing a "Bridesmaid's" Effect -- causing a surge of female ensemble comedies.
"It's cyclical. Right now, we're in the part of the cycle where they're making a lot of female driven movies," Caplan said. "People forget that in the 30s leading ladies in movies were unbelievably brassy and ballsy and tough."
"It was really only the 80s that there weren't many of those roles. It was from the 90s onward that we had resurgence," Fisher said. "[Before that,] you had Diane Keaton and all of this great stuff and then there was sort of a gap."
Caplan added that the film exhibits a kind of bawdiness typically reserved for a male-driven venture: "It's nice to do a ballsy movie [in which] there are no balls in the cast."
"Bachelorette" is currently in limited release and available via video on demand.