The Bachelor (1999)

THE BACHELOR is worth a trip to the altar.  That is, if you can get 
past the painful-and-at-times-excruciatingly-so performance of Ren-
ee Zellweger (JERRY MAGUIRE, ONE TRUE THING), an actress whose fun-
ky facial features make her look like (a.) she's always crying or 
(b.) is recovering from a stroke.  (You'll also have to get past 
the sloppy direction, a saggy story, and a oh-so-predictable plat-
ter of oldies.  Louis Prima's "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody," 
Ray Charles' "Hit the Road Jack," etc.)  Chris O'Donnell plays the 
narrating title character, a San Fran furniture maker (pool tables) 
who thinks of himself-- and all single guys-- as "mustangs."  They 
don't want to be tamed; they don't want to be roped; they just want 
to get "as much grass as possible."

Thus, the laughs are ready and waiting when his buds begin to fall 
prey, such as during the dreaded "bouquet catch."  (Cut from pained 
reaction shot at wedding to image of man running alongside horses, 
lasso descending...)  Of course, Bachelor Boy thinks *he's* immune, 
until learning that his seemingly happy-go-lucky lady (Zellweger) 
is *herself* ready to knot-tie.  He panics, pees all over the pro-
posal, and then sits perplexed as she storms out of the restaurant.  
(He includes a reference to a "pot" and the need to either do some-
thing or get off of said seated surface.)  The catch comes the next 
day, when his grandfather (a crusty Peter Ustinov) passes away.  
The will is read, a fortune is discovered, and the sole beneficiary 
is revealed as You Know Who.  Well, provided that he's married by 
6:05 p.m. on the day of his 30th birthday.  Which is tomorrow.

Intermittent hilarity ensues, as Bachelor Number One races after 
his true love, gets spurned a second time, and starts going down 
the list of *former* flames, each less catch-worthy than the pre-
vious.  (Funniest is Brook Shields, looking like Tom Cruise as a 
chain-smoking, soon-to-be-poor blueblood.)  Regrettably, Ms. Z also 
gets a hefty share of screen time, allowing for *far* too much re-
flection on her features and/or acting ability.  (The mush-mouthed 
actress even delivers her dialogue while chewing food in one scene!  
Incredible!)  Beware, too, the occasional sentimental sidesteps, so 
Lover Boy can learn the true meaning of marriage.  Yawn.  Thank God 
for the big finish-- a grand, IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD-wor-
thy finale featuring several hundred brides-to-be swarming the 
streets of San Francisco.  Not sure of the socio-cultural message 
there, but it does make for a great sight gag!  With Ed Asner, Hal 
Holbrook, and James Cromwell as the long-suffering priest dragged 
from chick to chick.  And don't forget the symbolic vaginas...  

Grade: B-

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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