In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_f8f20egntzlhnjjletts89sx5lt

Magic in the Moonlight

While Allen’s new picture, "Magic In The Moonlight," isn’t even close to being a disaster (for that, see, well, "Scoop"), I don’t think it’s unreasonable…

Thumb_hercules

Hercules

Dwayne Johnson tries, but he’s surrounded by poor CGI and a terrible adaptation of yet another comic book. Ian McShane steals what little movie there…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

The Bachelor Weekend

The Bachelor Weekend Movie Review
  |  

John Butler’s "The Bachelor Weekend" is a genial comedy with likable enough characters to get one through its modest running time and meager intentions but it succumbs to a few too many clichés and paper-thin characterizations to fulfill its potential. Worst of all, it allows one larger-than-life character to steal too much focus and drag the narrative into a predictable arc we've seen so many times before: the boorish lout who breaks the more docile types out of their shells. There are emotional moments that are surprisingly effective (mostly thanks to the talents "Sherlock" star Andrew Scott), a few good laughs, and hints at the film that could have been with just a few rewrites. It’s not quite a "lost" weekend, merely misplaced.

More accurately known as "The Stag" overseas, "The Bachelor Weekend" stars Hugh O’Conor as Fionnan, the kind of sensitive groom-to-be who makes dioramas of his reception and serves as the main contact for the event’s florist. Even the wedding planner calls him metrosexual. His fiancée Ruth (Amy Huberman) asks Best Man Davin (Andrew Scott, Moriarty from "Sherlock") to organize a "stag." Fionnan, Davin, and their best friends will hike the great outdoors, getting in touch with nature and themselves. Travelers include Fionnan’s brother "Little Kevin" (Michael Legge), Kevin’s partner "Big Kevin" (Andrew Bennett), and friend Simon (Brian Gleeson). Of course, they all have a bit of drama to explore on their journey. Kevin’s father refuses to attend Fionnan's wedding if his son’s partner is there. And Simon is undergoing serious financial difficulties that have plunged him into depression.

While you might think there’s enough movie there, Butler throws a powder keg into the campfire by introducing "The Machine" (Peter McDonald), Ruth’s obnoxious, loud, possibly crazy brother. The Machine forces his way on the stag, despite having nothing in common with Fionnan and his mates. He threatens to destroy the whole adventure (and, for a time, the whole movie). Of course, anyone who’s ever seen a film can tell you that there’s more to The Machine than he lets on and that he’ll help pull these gentlemen out of their shells whether they want to step out or not.

There are times when Butler’s sweet, character-driven comedy works, such as an argument about U2 in which The Machine literally can’t believe that there’s an Irishman who didn’t cry at their concert, a very funny bit about how Davin feels that Fionnan only likes things after he does so first, and a musical interlude around the bonfire. "The Bachelor Weekend" is a screenwriting tug-of-war. Every moment that feels character-driven is off-set by one that feels forced. If McDonald isn’t pushing the overbearing Machine routine (which, to be fair, isn’t the actor’s fault but Butler’s script), the characters are going through too many predictable revelatory moments, especially in the last half-hour (the treacly piano keys kick in at almost exactly the hour mark). "The Bachelor Weekend" is at its best not in its scenes of men acting like children or the beats that feel more written than organic but in its most believable scenes of joyful, male friendship in between the broad humor and melodrama. I just wish there were more of them.

Popular Blog Posts

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Simply Do it: Talking with Woody Allen About Directorial Style

An interview with Woody Allen about his new film, "Magic in the Moonlight."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus