The Bachelor

on November 05, 1999 by Francesca Dinglasan
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   In "The Bachelor," an update of the 1925 Buster Keaton silent pic "Seven Chances," the inverse of last summer's "Runaway Bride" takes place: Instead of following the escapades of a woman continually fleeing from the altar, the film revolves around the adventures of a single male desperate to get married.
   The male in question is Jimmie (Chris O'Donnell), the owner of a billiards table company who has learned that he stands to inherit $100 million dollars from his deceased grandfather if he marries by 6:05 p.m. on his 30th birthday, which happens to be just 27 hours away. Adding to the time-sensitive nature of the problem is the fact that his true love Anne (Renée Zellweger) has decided to leave town after he botches two marriage proposals to her (the first involves the ill-chosen phrase, "You win," while the second entails a blank stare in response to her question, "Are you really ready to commit?"). Since the future of Jimmie's employees depends on his receiving the inheritance, he sets out on a mission with his best friend (Artie Lange) and a priest waiting on stand-by (James Cromwell) to win over one of his several exes as a last-minute bride.
   Beyond the film's many stabs at humor resulting in mere annoyances, including the negative stereotypes of women embodied by each of Jimmie's former flames (the clingy obsessive, the narcissistic diva, the angry feminist and the snooty rich bitch), the most obvious problem is the bachelor himself. While O'Donnell's anxious groom-to-be is likable enough, his lack of comic timing does little to improve Steve Cohen's unimaginative script, which doesn't spend nearly enough time exploring the affection that exists between the two leads. Instead, Anne's constant anger and exasperation at Jimmie makes it seem appropriate that they remain unmarried--an attribute none too desirable in a romantic comedy.
   Unfortunately, by the time the flick's most visually and humorously engaging scene comes around as Jimmie is chased up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco by literally hundreds of potential brides, it's too little, too late. "The Bachelor" is probably best left as the one that got away. Starring Chris O'Donnell, Renée Zellweger, Artie Lange, James Cromwell, Ed Asner, Hal Holbrook and Marley Shelton. Directed by Gary Sinyor. Written by Steve Cohen. Produced by Bing Howenstein and Lloyd Segan. A New Line release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for mild language. Running time: 101 min
Tags: Chris O'Donnell, Rene Zellweger, Artie Lange, James Cromwell, Ed Asner, Hal Holbrook and Marley Shelton. Directed by Gary Sinyor. Written by Steve Cohen, Produced by Bing Howenstein, Lloyd Segan, New Line, Romantic comedy
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