The Bachelor review

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This '90s remake of Buster Keaton's 1925 Seven Chances will have the legendary slapstick-stuntmaster somersaulting in his grave. Despite the best efforts of star/ producer Chris O'Donnell, Keaton's silent classic has been remoulded into a desperately unfunny and hugely disappointing rom-com.

The biggest problem lies in the undeveloped script. Every time screenwriter Steve Cohen looks like he's about to conjure up a `hilarious' situation, he merely flips out yet another corny, cheese-ball scene, such as when Jimmie fumbles a proposal to wannabe bride, Anne, who then charges home and tear-fully stuffs her face with junk food - - because ""He didn't do it right!"".

Furthermore, most of the characters are simply unlikeable. For example, there's the token, loud, overweight Italian buddy - - in this case Marco (Lange) - - who in a typically unimaginative scenario initiates a discussion on "ball-busting bitches" while on a crowded bus. Scenes such as these are merely sorrowful, and to show how old hat the film is in places.

But although the storyline is weak, British director Gary Sinyor's (Leon The Pig Farmer) interesting visuals compensate somewhat. One memorable moment involves thousands of `desperate' women all wearing flowing, white bridal gowns running up a San Francisco hill, attempting to catch the "eligible bachelor". And, when the boredom really sets in, you can always count the number of famous faces who appear as Jimmie's exes: there's Brooke Shields, pop diva Mariah Carey and Spin City's Jennifer Esposito. Topping off the celebrity-spotting fest is James Cromwell's morbid priest, though he's given shamefully few lines.

Of course, a clutch of notable cameos isn't enough to save a movie from the failure of its central characters. While O'Donnell's never exactly been the biggest of box-office draws, you know he can do far better (see Cookie's Fortune), and his teaming with the pouty Zellweger suffers a terminal lack of onscreen chemistry. After seeing this, you'd think he'd have a better chance pulling Batman...

The sober fact that The Bachelor quickly disappeared after its American release speaks volumes. Unless you're a die-hard O'Donnell fan (they are out there), it's best to wait till video. Or take a good book and a torch into the theatre.

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