About the Movie:
In many ways, The Bachelor is an utterly delightful movie, despite its flaws here and there.
One of the most refreshing things I found in this movie was the positive view that was eventually given to marriage. O'Donnel's character goes from a single man who enjoys his single and somewhat philanderous lifestyle to a man who understands the joy of committing heart, soul and body to another person. He comes to realize that some things in life are more important than money or sex. The neatest part about all this is how he comes to this realization. It comes partly through his attempts to find a wife on short notice, but mostly it comes in the voice of a role model that is almost universally denigrated in movies these days... a priest. I found that to be a nice change.
Plotwise, this film is standard romantic comedy material. Boy loses girl, boy seeks girl, girl makes things difficult, boy gets girl. What makes this movie special is the offbeat way the whole situation is presented and eventually resolved. It's just plain fun, especially that memorable chase scene near the end.
The supporting cast (which includes Hal Holbrook, Artie Lang, James Cromwell and Edward Asner) is excellent in this film, though at times a little overplayed. James Cromwell's priest is downright charming and O'Donnell plays his role as the uncertain bachelor rather convincingly. Together with the rest of the cast they make for some great and entertaining comedic moments that are laugh out loud funny.
The only really low spot as far as acting goes is Anne. Renee Zellweger is ok in her role as Anne, but as an actress, I feel she has a tendency to come off as a ditzy blond. Her character suffered a little from that, making her, at least for me, a lot less appealing as the female lead than she could have been.
Like many comedies these days, the Bachelor also suffers from the sex syndrome so prevalent in modern movies. Jimmie has clearly slept around a lot in the past, and it's implied that he and Anne are 'intimate.' Just once I'd like to see a romantic comedy without any sex involved, with a guy who's saving himself for the one he wants to spend his life with. I guess that's too much to hope for. But, I suppose in this movie, the lifestyle fits why he's not so eager to abandon it.
The other issue with this film is the language. The language in The Bachelor is often unnecessarily crude (usually sexual references or unfortunate potty colloquialisms) pushing the rating up to PG-13. It could have been a better, more family friendly film had they kept some of the language a little tamer and less earthy. It hurt the movie, and it didn't have to.
In the end, some of this film is a little clichéd, but overall it holds together pretty well, and makes the payoff at the end definitely worth it. Over all, the Bachelor is a fairly entertaining movie that makes a great date film (if you can overlook the language).
About the DVD:
The Bachelor comes in a cardboard snap case on a single-sided DVD in Widescreen and fullscreen formats with Dolby Digital 5.1 or regular stereo surround sound. This movie's audio tracks are only available in English, and the subtitles only come in English as well. There are no foreign language subtitle or audio tracks on this DVD.
The picture on this DVD is exceptionally clean, even on high resolution screens. This is what DVDs are supposed to look like. The sound is decent, though nothing that will knock you out of your seat.
The special features on this DVD are what you normally see on budget DVD releases, the theatrical trailer for the movie and a cast filmography section. This DVD release has the added bonus, however, of being a PC DVD-ROM with extra features when played on a computer. These include a script to screen feature, access to the original theatrical website and a links to wedding resources.
I've always found the script to screen feature on DVD's to be fascinating. While it's really only any interest to those who enjoy the finer points of film making, it's interesting to read the script while the movie plays. I do have a complaint however. The Script to screen feature forces you to watch the movie in fullscreen while reading the script. As a fan of widescreen, I found that restriction a little annoying.
Bottom Line: A fun film with some flaws on a budget DVD release with one significant extra. I'd give it 3 Stars.
For women, on the other hand, the institution of marriage is often thought of in fairy-talesque ways. The prince marries the princess and they live happily ever after. The gentleman chooses the most romantic locale and the most perfect day to pop the question. Then, when he does ask for her hand in marriage, he does it with a poetic eloquence that would rival Keats.
The present movie pokes fun @ both men and women for their pre-conceived notions about marriage. Chris O'Donnell plays a happy-go-lucky independent male who has not yet hit 30. He has seen his friends get "picked off" one-by-one by the marital epidemic.
Meanwhile, the ultra-adorable Renee Zelwegger plays a young woman who has been bred on all the popular fiction about how "perfect" everything will be when she gets married. She's also expecting a breathtakingly perfect evening in which her man will offer her the rest of his life.
As you have probably guessed, these two protaganists fall in love but their different viewpoints cause a great deal of friction. The result is nothing short of a hilarious satire on the differences in how men & women look over a lifelong bond.
There are some zany twists & turns in the plot, but that is the main gist of the storyline. If you like Romantic comedies, this one is a dandy. I'd recommend this film for anyone who has ever been married. And, if you've never been married......I'd recommend this DVD even more!