By Laura Glick
Chris O’Donnell has the word commitment oozing from every pore in his toned body. Naturally, he was the perfect choice to play a young man terrified to let go of his bachelor freedom.
Bad choices like those made by the casting agency pervade O’Donnell’s latest romantic comedy The Bachelor.
With every stock character and the cheesiest of clichés, The Bachelor fails to provoke even the slightest laughter. Instead, we watch a chubby, Italian funny-man, a perverted, rich old man, and a grumpy, loud grandfather assist playboy Jimmy (O’Donnell) as he confronts his premarital jitters.
Determined to remain single and hold onto his manly prowess (repeatedly displayed by shots of stallions stampeding through the desert), Jimmy is convinced he was meant to remain unwed. He reasons that a stallion’s role is to wander from field to field sampling all the grass they have to offer. Blonde grass, brunette grass, tall grass, and short grass all deserve a chance to be nibbled upon.
Jimmy happily continues his feasting until he stumbles upon a blonde, hysterical, mumbling, annoying grass named Ann (Renée Zellweger).
Sure enough a long-term relationship develops and the usual pre-marriage anxiety issues are dealt with, only there’s a twist: $100 million rides on Jimmy’s getting hitched within 24 hours. Whatever will the commitment shy hunk do?
Will he succeed in wooing Ann? Will he ask his stereotypical ex-girlfriends to be his lawful wedded wife? Will one of them be Mariah Carey as a pretentious opera diva?
From the opening monologue, The Bachelor reveals its fate. Despite trying desperately to appeal to female audience members by offering a supposed sneak-peek into the mind of a commitment-phobic man, The Bachelor fails to provide insight, humour, depth or believable romance.
Watching O’Donnell and Zellweger together is painful. In each shared scene, they try to out-cute one another. Whenever they converse, she babbles incessantly, flips out and stomps home to her sister. He gets confused, tries to be macho and toddles home to his buddies. Except O’Donnell has such a sickening boyish innocence, no one believes he is an insensitive player.
Trying to follow in the romantic footsteps of Jerry Maguire and fill the comedic shoes of My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Bachelor pulls out half the stops and falls way short. There is no spark between O’Donnell and Zellweger, no humour in the predictable predicaments and no refuge from the boredom.