At Sundance, Icy Kirsten Dunst Leads Pitch-Black Comedy ‘Bachelorette’

Xanax binges, sex at a strip club, and Dunst as an ice queen you won't forget. Chris Lee on the pitch-black pre-nuptial Indie comedy premiering at Sundance.

Explosive bathtub puking? Check. Lengthy monologue about blow-job semantics? Affirmative. Copious cocaine consumption? Strip-club bathroom sex? A suicidal Xanax binge? Check. Check. Check. Such are the many and varied wonders of the pitch-black indie comedy Bachelorette, starring Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and James Marsden—a movie that premiered here in Park City on Monday that your rangey correspondent managed to watch in a secret ski-chalet screening Friday morning.

Early on in the film, a druggy, barely hinged party girl portrayed by Lizzy Caplan characterizes one of her friend’s romantic entanglements as being “like a Jane Austen novel on crack.” That’s as apt a description as any for Bachelorette, an antic caper shot through with doses of Neil LaBute-esque cross-talking dialogue. Sight unseen, the movie has already been tarred by comparisons to last year’s breakout hit Bridesmaids for the films’ shared marital milieu and shoot-milk-out-your-nose-laughing raunch factor.

Bachelorette follows three female BFFs—Dunst, as a bulimic perfectionist with ice in her veins and a snarl of pure scorn; Fisher, as a near-suicidal yet effervescent bubblehead prom queen; and the aforementioned Caplan—as they ready for the wedding of Becky (Bridesmaids’ hilarious Rebel Wilson), the high school ne’er do well, whom the other three used to scorn as “Pig Face” behind her back.

Dreading how the blessed day will illuminate the dark corners and failed promise of their own lives, the three women embark on a riotous chemical binge. But when they accidentally ruin Becky’s wedding dress in a cringe-worthy moment of coked-out bliss, the movie becomes a pulse-quickening tick-tock to repair the damage before the nuptials—if the trio don’t kill each other or themselves first.

The movie is anchored by strong performances all around, particularly Marsden, who breaks out of his put-upon/cuckolded Handsome Guy rut as a preening yuppie alpha male. And Dunst joins the ranks of moviedom’s great ice queens bringing a twitchy physicality and bristling aggression to what could have been a stock part in less-capable hands.

Look out for a more fully fleshed dispatch on the film, including interviews with the Bachelorette leads by my colleague Marlow Stern.