You’re forgiven if the new comedy Bachelorette seems to you like a knockoff of Bridesmaids. After all, it’s about three bridesmaids—Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher—whose night spirals out of control mere hours before their friend (Rebel Wilson), whom they all made fun of back in high school, plans to tie the knot.
But writer-director Leslye Headland wrote the stage play for Bachelorette years ago, and the film adaptation, which has Will Ferrell and Adam McKay serving as producers, has been in the works for awhile.
At the end of the day, though, Bachelorette will be remembered for a couple of things that have little to do with the story itself, and that’s fine, because the story isn’t all that special. First, this little movie has had immense success on both video on demand and iTunes prior to its theatrical release. That’s a big deal, because it continues to show that there really is an audience for female-centered films, and because it’s increasingly hard for small films to make it into the multiplex; pre-theatrical-release revenue sources will make it possible for filmmakers to continue to craft these smaller films.
The business side of things aside, what I take away from Bachelorette is that it’s yet another opportunity to see Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott on screen together. The two costarred in Party Down, the short-lived Starz series that you should start watching as soon as possible if you haven’t seen it already.
In Bachelorette—opening Friday, Sept. 7, at Reading Town Square Cinema and AMC Mission Valley— it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that all three bridesmaids are going to end up in some kind of romantic entanglement. And we want to see Clyde (Scott) find a way to settle down Caplan’s coke-snorting Gena. It’s not all a happy ending—only one bouquet gets thrown at a wedding, after all—but the reunion of Scott and Caplan is enough to make it memorable.
The Cold Light of Day: Henry Cavill is a Wall Street trader who has to go on the offensive after his family is kidnapped while on a European holiday.
Un Cuento Chino: The San Diego Latino Film Festival kicks off its fall Cinema en tu Idioma series with this comedy, which stars Ricardo Darin as a store owner who tries to help a Chinese immigrant who speaks no Spanish.
The Imposter: Bart Layton’s documentary plays like a thriller, telling the story of a young Texas boy who disappeared for more than three years before being located in a small village in Spain. One thing, though: The guy who returned to San Antonio wasn’t the same kid who went missing.
Samsara: Shot in 70-millimeter film on several different continents over half a decade, this is the latest from the folks responsible for Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka.
The Words: Bradley Cooper plays a successful writer who must finally face up to the fact that he stole someone else’s work.
One Time Only
Some Like it Hot: This comedy classic, featuring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, co-stars the Hotel Del. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Bernie: Jack Black gets dramatic in Richard Linklater’s dark comedy about a fussy little man in Texas who murders his patron (Shirley MacLaine) after she pushes him too far. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Bridesmaids: Kristen Wiig hit the big time with this raunchy girl comedy that she stars in and co-wrote. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Habanastation: A wealthy young boy ventures into a poor part of town, where he learns that some kids have to have fun without a PS3. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, in the food court at Otay Ranch Center.
Give Up Tomorrow: Documentary about a young Filipino man on Death Row who was nowhere near the crime he was accused of committing. Screened by the San Diego Asian Film Festival at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Enter the Void: Gaspar Noé’s film is nothing if not unique, as he follows the soul of a dead drug dealer in Tokyo doing its best to look out for a wayward sister. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Ship in the Woods in Del Mar.
To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant is a onetime jewel thief who must seek out a copycat after he’s suspected of being back in business. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, through Saturday, Sept. 8, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Somewhere to Disappear: Directors Laure Flammarion and Arnaud Uyttenhove spent months following photographer Alec Soth around the country to look for his reclusive subjects. Screens at 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at jdc Fine Art in Little Italy.
Good Night, and Good Luck: George Clooney’s terrific black-and-white feature about Edward R. Murrow, wonderfully played by David Strathhairn. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Stormchasers: The science of storms is explored in IMAX at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Tornado Alley: Just keep tapping your heels together and saying, “There’s no place like home.” Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Which Way Home: This documentary about child migrants trying to get to the United States is part of the Ambulante Border Series. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
The Gold Rush: Hello, Charlie Chaplin. Good to see you celebrating the Ken Cinema’s 100th anniversary at noon, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9.
I Love Your Work: Adam Goldberg’s look at fame and misfortune through the eyes of filmmaker Gray Evans (played by Goldberg’s old buddy, Giovanni Ribisi), who enjoys a little too much success a little too soon. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Central Library, Downtown.
One Frontier, All Frontiers: Presented as part of the Ambulante Border Series, this documentary about people divided by the border fence screens at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
Nostagia for the Light: This documentary, which looks at archaeologists, astronomers and love-seekers in Chile’s Atacama Desert, is in Spanish with English subtitles. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Anita: The San Diego Latino film festival presents this film about a young Jewish woman with Down Syndrome who lives in Argentina. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the food court at Otay Ranch Center.
Sunset Boulevard: Get ready for your close-up. Presented by FilmOut at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Walk the Line: Reese Witherspoon won her Best Actress Oscar playing opposite Joaquin Phoenix in this Johnny Cash biopic. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Compliance: Craig Zobel’s new film, about a fast-food worker who is stripsearched and abused by her employers after they receive a phone call suggesting she stole from a customer, is seriously disturbing, especially when you learn that it’s based on very real events. Ends Sept. 6 at the Ken Cinema.
2 Days in New York: Julie Delpy wrote, directed and stars in this nifty little movie, in which she and her partner, Chris Rock, find their lives jostled when her parents come from France to visit them.
The Awakening: Rebecca Hall plays a ghost hunter who stumbles upon the real thing in post-WWI England.
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate: Jet Li’s new martial-arts epic will screen in 3-D and in IMAX at AMC Mission Valley.
For a Good Time, Call...: Two girls (Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller) who couldn’t stand each other in college start up a phone-sex line in order to afford a fabulous New York apartment.
Hari-Kari: Death of a Samurai 3D: Takashi Miike’s new martial-arts epic. Screens in 3-D at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Lawless: The new film from John Hillcoat, about three brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) running moonshine during Prohibition, looks great but feels long and somewhat lifeless.
Love Carrot #3: A couple’s one-night stand leads them to switch bodies, à la Freaky Friday. Also, it’s in Russian.
The Possession: A young girl buys a cool-looking box at a yard sale, only to find out it hosts an evil spirit. Not the bargain she was looking for.
2016: Obama’s America: A right-wing doc designed to terrify the faithful.
The Apparition: College kids like Ashley Greene and Tom Felton release something supernatural while conducting experiments.
Cosmopolis: Robert Pattinson keeps trying to get out of the Twilight shadow. David Cronenberg’s new film, in which Pattinson stars as a hedge-fund guy who sees his fortune unravel during the course of a single day, might give him some cred. Ends Sept. 6 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Hit & Run: Real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell co-star in this action road-trip comedy, which Shepard also wrote and directed.
Premium Rush: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Manhattan bike messenger being pursued by corrupt cop Michael Shannon, who thinks Gordon-Levitt’s got something more than irony and attitude in his messenger bag.
Robot & Frank: In the not-too-distant future, an elderly jewel thief (Frank Langella) gets a robot butler as a gift.
Killer Joe: Matthew McConaughey is good as an overly polite hitman in William Friedkin’s new NC-17 thriller.
Ek Tha Tiger: This Bollywood action romance shot around the world screens at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
The Expendables 2: Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme join the aging-action-star party, along with Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, Willis, Li and the Governator.
Paranorman: Everyone thinks Norman, voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a freak because he can talk to ghosts. That talent comes in handy when his small town is invaded by the undead. New 3-D stop-motion film from Laika, the folks who made Coraline.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton can’t have a kid. That is, until there’s a knock on the door and an odd little boy who apparently grew in their garden tells them that he’s theirs.
Searching for Sugar Man: When two South Africans try to learn how an obscure American singer-songwriter from the ’70s died, they get more than they bargained for. Despite that sounding like a feature, it’s a pretty damn good documentary.
Sparkle: Whitney Houston’s final film is about a girl group that has to deal with the difficulties of success.
The Bourne Legacy: Jeremy Renner takes over the franchise, which is now directed by Tony Gilroy, the guy who wrote all of the other Bourne movies and directed Michael Clayton.
The Campaign: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis spar over a North Carolina congressional seat.
Celeste and Jesse Forever: Rashida Jones, who co-wrote, plays Celeste, who’s trying to stay friends with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jesse (Andy Samberg). Ends Sept. 6 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Hope Springs: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones turn to Steve Carell to put some zip back into their marriage.
Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D: The crazy guys in the Nitro Circus do all kinds of death-defying stunts that would put the Jackass crew to shame.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: If it feels like they release one of these every summer, that’s because that they release one of these every summer.
Total Recall: Less a remake of Arnie’s 1990 flick than a new adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s short story. Colin Farrell plays Quaid, a man who starts to believe that everything he remembers might not be real. Kate Beckinsale is in the Sharon Stone role; Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston also star.
Step Up Revolution: This time the dancing is in 3D! And Miami!
The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy concludes.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: This Sundance success, about a little girl living in Louisiana after an apocalyptic environmental disaster, is beautiful and beguiling.
Ice Age: Continental Drift: So cold.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Apparently, he does whatever a spider can. In 3-D, too.
Savages: Oliver Stone directs this thriller about two pot growers, played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, who take on a Mexican cartel after the bad guys kidnap their girlfriend (Blake Lively). As in, they share.
Deep Sea: This IMAX undersea film was made by Del Mar’s Howard and Michele Hall and is narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Ted: Mark Wahlberg’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum: It’s either her or his walking, talking, foul-mouthed teddy bear, voiced by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane, who also wrote and directed.
To Rome with Love: Woody Allen is his own worst enemy, because every time he turns out a mediocre movie—and this pastiche of stories set in Rome is certainly mediocre—it gets judged against his previous work.
Tyler Perry’s Medea’s Witness Protection: What the world needs now, apparently, is another Medea movie.
Brave: Princess Merida would rather be shooting arrows than playing dress-up, but when she defies her Scottish tribe, she sets loose a horrible curse that only she can fix.
Moonrise Kingdom: Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, this new one about two 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away from the dysfunctional adults in their lives will be adored by those who worship at the altar of Wes Anderson.
Madagascar 3: Apparently kids still fall for this. Parents, too.
Flying Monsters 3D: No, it’s not a crappy studio blockbuster—this one is all about dinosaurs and was written and directed by Richard Attenborough, using Avatar-like technology, and plays the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
The Intouchables: French blockbuster sensation about an aging Caucasian paraplegic who hires a poor young black man to be his caretaker.
Snow White and the Huntsman: Big-budget retelling of the fairy tale finds the huntsman (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth) teaming up with Snow White (Kristen Stewart) to try to end the reign of the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron).
Men in Black 3: Will Smith has to go back in time to prevent Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement from murdering Tommy Lee Jones, who’s represented in the past by Josh Brolin.
Bernie: Jack Black plays the real-life Bernie Tiede, a popular Texas funeral director who was convicted of murdering an 81-year-old widow.
The Avengers: It set box-office records for the biggest opening weekend ever, and for good reason. Joss Whedon’s take on the Marvel franchise is well-written, superbly edited, funny and enormously entertaining.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
The Hunger Games: The most anticipated movie of the year to date is about a dystopian future where teens like Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are forced to kill one another to stay alive.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Born to be Wild 3-D: Despite sounding like yet another animated animal movie, this is an IMAX film about baby elephants and orangutans and the people who love them. Oh, and it’s narrated by Morgan Freeman. Collective sigh for the baby monkeys, please.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.