Chris O'Donnell
Renee Zellweger
Hal Holbrook
Ed Asner
Artie Lange
James Cromwell
Marley Shelton
Brooke Shields

Gary Sinyor



Time: 101 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romantic Comedy

I know, I know, I shouldn't have expected much from a film about a single guy who has to get married to receive his hefty inheritance, but the cast suckered me in. I really like Chris O'Donnell and I figured that his first foray back onto the screen after several years absence would be something he was really excited to do. Granted it's the first time he's ever really been cast as the leading man and that may have been why he choose this film. However, after making this flick, he may not get another chance. He definitely has the charm and chops to be a big star, but if he keeps picking crap like this he will never jump to the A-list.

THE BACHELOR has it's moments, many of them due to the talent of O'Donnell, but they are few and far between. However, what really makes this film not work is the total lack of chemistry between O'Donnell and Zellweger. This is not entirely their fault. The way their characters meet is not only contrived and stupid, but that initial scene is basically all we get to see of their supposed relationship. The film then plays for another 5 minutes or so with O'Donnell giving a voice over about his friends being suckered into marriage, which he's petrified Anne (Zellweger) is after as well. It's obvious from the get go that Jimmy/O'Donnell doesn't want to get married. What isn't made clear is why he and Anne are in love in the first place. The movie hinges on the fact that even though he doesn't want to marry her, that she's still the woman for him. Maybe if we were ever given a reason why, besides the fact that she's the most beautiful girl in the film, his fight to regain her love would seem more worthwhile.

Jimmy proposes to Anne after she catches the bouquet at a friend's wedding. They've been dating for 3 years and he feels they're at that point in their relationship where you either take the next step or break up, which is essentially what he says during his proposal. It's pretty obvious to Anne that though he loves her, he is in no way ready to be married. She refuses and supposedly leaves town on an assignment.

"I'm not interested in your vagina, I just want to marry you!"

Jimmy's aware he screwed up, but there doesn't seem to be anything he can say to get Anne back. When his grandfather dies, Jimmy is left with a huge inheritance – 100 million dollars. There's just one catch: he has to get married before his 30th birthday, stay married for 10 years and produce an heir within the first 5 years of the union. The dual facts that he's screwed up proposing to Anne twice and that his birthday is 48 hours away puts the pressure on.

Since Anne has refused to marry him, Jimmy has no choice but to try to find someone else he can live with for 10 years he doesn't completely dislike. So, he looks up every ex-girlfriend and asks them to marry him. This is actually the best part of the movie. Jimmy is unable to get any of them to agree to marry him, mainly because he continually puts his foot in his mouth. O'Donnell rarely plays someone so unlikable, and it's actually a refreshing change to watch him in this role. He eventually gets Buckley (Brooke Shields) to agree to get hitched, but once she finds out the restrictions she refuses to go through with the ceremony. He can't figure out why no one, especially Anne, wants to marry him. After talking with the reverend (Cromwell), he comes to realize that marriage is not a trap, but actually a blessing, if you can share it with someone you love. With his friends and advisors desperate not to lose the money, things get completely out of hand...and not in a good way. In the end, Jimmy, of course, gets the money and the girl. Even though he doesn't really deserve either.

Even though O'Donnell and Zellweger are somewhat charming and amusing, this film has nothing new or unusual to say and isn't the least bit romantic. The performances given by some of the supporting cast, mainly Shields and Holbrook, are what help keep this film afloat. Maybe if it had been made in the 40s with Cary Grant as the lead it would have been funnier and more charming, but as a modern day fable about discovering the joys of marriage, it stinks. O'Donnell and Zellweger better be a lot more cautious choosing their material in the future or their careers are never going to get any better than they are now. And that would be a real shame.

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