The Bachelor

The Bachelor

1999, PG-13, 102 min. Directed by Gary Sinyor. Starring Mariah Carey, Brooke Shields, Peter Ustinov, Edward Asner, James Cromwell, Hal Holbrook, Renee Zellweger, Chris O'Donnell.

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Nov. 12, 1999

Chris O'Donnell as a nuptials-phobic bachelor who breaks into a sweat at the words “I do”? Sweet, clean-cut, boy-next-door Chris O'Donnell as the perpetual single guy, an unfettered Lothario? If ever there were the marrying kind, it's O'Donnell -- he looks like he can't wait to settle down with the Missus. Miscast from the start, The Bachelor is a mirthless comedy in which men view the battle of the sexes as if it were a Freudian Henny Youngman joke: The mustang becomes the gelding once he puts on a wedding ring. (Believe it or not, the movie uses wild horses imagery ad nauseam to convey the freedom of the unmarried male: Guess what a lasso symbolizes?) The retro, sometimes sexist humor of The Bachelor isn't offensive; it's just stupid. Even in the hands of an actor better-suited than O'Donnell, it's doubtful that this movie would work, given its mediocre script. Allegedly a retelling of the 1925 Buster Keaton film Seven Chances, The Bachelor offers a simplistic story that can be summarized like a personals ad: Confirmed SWM must wed SF in 24 hours to inherit $100 million fortune. The laughs are supposed to come as O'Donnell's character zigzags through the streets of San Francisco, popping the question to every woman in his little black book, which here is a shoebox of photographs. Classy guy, eh? This endeavor is complicated by the fact that the woman he really loves has previously rejected his marriage proposal because she senses he's not quite ready for the ball and chain. (Zellweger is adrift in this thankless role of the girlfriend, which at least gives her the opportunity to put those pouty lips to good use.) Of the actresses -- a term used loosely in this particular instance -- playing the women offered O'Donnell's hand in marriage, songbird Carey is the most memorable, only because she is onscreen for a mercifully short time and gives a performance on par with those in her music videos. Her acting range appears to be about half an octave. Unless you've been cryogenically frozen for the last 60 years, you know how things work out in the last reel of The Bachelor, but there's no joy in getting there -- only the tedious sight of the ever-earnest O'Donnell in a tuxedo with a tail between his legs. You'd think that a movie featuring hundreds of women in wedding gowns running up and down the hills of Frisco, chasing a man, might be pure slapstick, but The Bachelor can't find even a chuckle in such spectacle. This is one movie best left unattached.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Mariah Carey Films
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Much like the title character Precious, this rough-hewn movie overcomes the unlikely odds for its success.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Nov. 20, 2009

You Don't Mess With the Zohan
As far as we know, this Adam Sandler movie is the first Hollywood-made Jewish/Palestinian/immigrant comedy that also doubles as a surprisingly trenchant analysis of the Middle East's perpetual bloodbath.

Marc Savlov, June 6, 2008

More by Steve Davis
Walking on Water
Portrait of renowned environmental artist Christo is more of a thumbnail sketch

May 24, 2019

Trial by Fire
Cameron Todd Willingham story deserves a better retelling that trusts the evidence

May 17, 2019


The Bachelor, Gary Sinyor, Mariah Carey, Brooke Shields, Peter Ustinov, Edward Asner, James Cromwell, Hal Holbrook, Renee Zellweger, Chris O'Donnell

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle