The Bachelor

1999, Movie, PG-13, 101 mins

Review

BACHELOR, THE
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An update of the 1925 Buster Keaton picture SEVEN CHANCES, this romantic comedy is seriously undermined by its sour tone and an unusually charmless performance by star Chris O'Donnell. Jimmie Shannon (O'Donnell) is deeply in love with his girlfriend Anne (Renee Zellweger, looking like an unmade bed), but the thought of marriage, even to someone as perfect as Anne, gives him major cold feet. One by one his single friends succumb to the promise of wedded bliss (some, granted, having been given a good hard shove by their significant others), so Jimmie figures he might as well bite the bullet and pop the question. Annie sees right through his half-hearted proposal and turns him down cold. Just as Jimmie ought to be sighing a great sigh of relief, his bad-tempered grandfather (Peter Ustinov) dies suddenly, leaving his only grandson $100,000,000. If — and this is suddenly a big if — Jimmie is married by his 30th birthday. Jimmie's birthday is tomorrow, and Anne is mad as hell...madder still after Jimmie proposes for a second time and manages to botch the job again. Thinking that Annie, who's supposed to be en route to Greece on business, is unreachable, Jimmie starts combing through the roster of exes, which is when the real hilarity begins. But in all honesty, it's not very funny, even leaving aside the fact that the stereotype of marriage-mad women and commitment-o-phobic men is a bit shopworn to be a laugh riot in and of itself. Sure, the image of a panicky bachelor running from an apparently endless sea of white-clad brides is striking, but you have to sit through a lot of variations on the theme of "Jimmie offends another girl" to get there. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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