Total Recall

Total Recall: Memorable Movie Bachelor Parties

With The Hangover Part II hitting theaters, we run down some of cinema's wildest pre-marital bashes.

by | May 27, 2011 | Comments

Bachelor Parties

So we don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a sequel to a little movie called The Hangover coming out this week, in which pre-wedding festivities once again go horribly, hilariously awry for three guys in way, way over their heads (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms). The first Hangover took bachelor party comedy to a new level, so in honor of the Wolfpack’s return, we took a look at some of the other notable entries in the genre. Like many actual weddings, some of these movies didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, but we’re betting you’ll find a few favorites as you sift through the Tomatometer wreckage. Dearly beloved, it’s time to Total Recall!

American Wedding


Few characters in the annals of modern mainstream Hollywood comedy have been more uniquely qualified or prepared to plan a bachelor party than Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott), the sex-obsessed lunatic whose exploits helped the American Pie series redefine raunchy R-rated humor. With American Wedding, he finally got his chance — and he didn’t disappoint, lining up a pair of strippers to surprise the soon-to-be-wedded Jim (Jason Biggs). Of course, Stifler being Stifler, things didn’t exactly turn out as planned; in fact, Jim’s new in-laws ended up becoming unplanned participants in all the ribaldry. But all’s well that ends well, and although Wedding didn’t earn distinguished critical marks, it made over $230 million at the box office, and earned somewhat begrudging praise from the likes of Robert Denenstein of the Denver Rocky Mountain News, who called it “Funny when it needs to be” and added, “I don’t know what more you can ask from the third installment of a series that has gone further than anyone reasonably could have expected.”

Bachelor Party


Before he started hoarding Oscar nominations, Tom Hanks had to work his way up the professional ladder just like anyone else — a journey that included starring in this cheerfully ribald, playfully shallow 1984 comedy about a bus driver whose trip to the altar with his fiancee (Tawny Kitaen) has to make it through dozens of wacky obstacles, including a disapproving father-in-law, a scheming ex-boyfriend, and a donkey. It’s pretty standard stuff as far as the T&A comedies of the 1980s are concerned, and quite a few critics dismissed it out of hand, but Bachelor Party has become something of a cult classic over the years — something that might have been predicted by Roger Ebert, who gave it three stars and wrote, “Bachelor Party has some great moments and qualifies as a raunchy, scummy, grungy Blotto Bluto memorial.”

The Best Man


Spike Lee’s cousin Malcolm made his debut with this 1999 dramedy, which stars Taye Diggs as Harper Stewart, a budding novelist whose doubts about his girlfriend (Sanaa Lathan) are put to the test when a galley copy of his book starts making the rounds among his friends — and an ex-girlfriend who might be the one that got away (Nia Long). As if all that weren’t enough to deal with, Harper is also faced with handling the titular duties at the wedding of his best friend (Morris Chestnut), which includes hiring an attractive young woman (Regina Hall) to perform a rather provocative dance. Boasting a smartly written script, a likable cast (including Terrence Howard in an early role), and a solid soundtrack featuring The Roots, Maxwell, and Beyoncé, The Best Man earned praise from critics such as Michael Dequina of The Movie Report, who argued, “If you ask me, it’s impossible to not like a film that ends with the entire cast doing the electric slide to Cameo’s 1980s funk classic ‘Candy.'”

Bride Wars


In Hollywood, a wedding isn’t a wedding until the bride loses her mind, and nothing is as funny as a good cat fight. Enter 2009’s Bride Wars, a slapstick brawl to the altar between two lifelong best friends (Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson) whose relationship is torn asunder when their weddings are mistakenly planned for the same day. When neither bride-to-be is willing to change her date, it unleashes a flood of repressed rage, cruel practical jokes, and one very aggressive bachelorette party dance-off, as well as a climactic brawl (in wedding dresses, natch). Bride Wars was a $115 million hit, but most critics didn’t find it all that funny; in fact, most of them dismissed it as more proof of the film industry’s patronizing attitude toward female relationships. A notable exception was Time’s Mary Pols, who wrote that “even though the catfighting goes over the top, the notion that a passionate female friendship can turn ugly in a heartbeat is, sadly, realistic.”

Clerks II


Most movie bachelor parties promise untold levels of debauchery, but — much like their real-life counterparts — tend to be relatively tame affairs. Leave it to Kevin Smith to film an exception to the rule with Clerks II, which puts audiences in the front row for a donkey show with an unexpected twist. A film so gleefully profane that Joel Siegel infamously walked out of his screening, Clerks II ultimately failed to capture the cultural zeitgeist the way its predecessor did, but for some critics, it represented Smith’s growth as a filmmaker. Calling it “Probably the funniest film Smith has done since the original,” Joe Utichi of FilmFocus argued, “it’s chock full of childish humour and witty observations on pop culture — but there’s something real beneath all of that as well. Something, dare it be said, touching.”

A Guy Thing


Okay, so the Tomatometer isn’t so hot, but…hey, how about that cast? A Guy Thing revolves around the laff-a-minute travails of a hapless groom-to-be (Jason Lee) who wakes up the morning after his bachelor party to discover the stripper (Julia Stiles) next to him — and then finds out she’s related to his fiancee (Selma Blair). Wackity schmackity doo! In spite of its likable stars, A Guy Thing sputtered at the box office and was pounced on by most critics, although it did have a few defenders — including the kind-hearted Peter Howell of the Toronto Star, who called it “A bale of romantic fluff that is a lot funnier than it has any right to be.”

The Hangover


After all these years, you’d think there wasn’t much left to add to the bachelor party subgenre, but then along comes The Hangover and throws a random assortment of animals, an enraged, effeminate Ken Jeong, a baby, and Mike Tyson into the mix. Supposedly inspired by the time the groom went missing at a real-life bachelor party attended by producer Tripp Vinson, The Hangover plunges viewers into the sandy hell that is Las Vegas the morning after a night you can’t remember, with Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Bradley Cooper frantically searching for their soon-to-be-wedded pal (Justin Bartha) while trying to dodge a gangster (Jeong) and solve the mystery of Helms’ missing tooth. Queried Kyle Smith of the New York Post, “Memento meets Old School? It’s party time.”

How to Murder Your Wife


A perfect example of the sort of unrepentantly sexist comedy we only could have gotten during the swinging 1960s, How to Murder Your Wife stars Jack Lemmon as a successful cartoonist who relishes his bachelor lifestyle — that is, until he wakes up the morning after a bachelor party and discovers, to his slowly dawning horror, that he married the stripper (played with vivacious brio by Virna Lisi). Of course, it isn’t that she’s a bad wife, it’s just that Lemmon’s character resents being domesticated, and will entertain thoughts of homicide to escape. “Believable or not, this stuff is funny just so long as one can go with the sour joke,” wrote a slightly incredulous Bosley Crowther for the New York Times, adding, “and that depends upon one’s tolerance of trivia and also, perhaps, upon whether one is a fellow or a girl.”

The Marrying Man


When Alec Baldwin gave that 2009 interview where he bemoaned his failure as an actor, he might have been thinking of this infamous turkey, which used a Neil Simon screenplay as a recipe for critical and box office disaster. Baldwin starred as Charley Pearl, a toothpaste heir who falls for a nightclub singer (Kim Basinger) during his bachelor party, quickly dumps his fiancee, and marries the new object of his heart’s desire — only to divorce her, remarry her, divorce her, remarry her…oh, you get the idea. The Marrying Man‘s staggeringly low Tomatometer speaks for itself, but it wasn’t all bad — Roger Ebert was one of the very few who liked it. “There’s more juice in the story than I usually expect from Neil Simon,” he wrote, adding, “the characters don’t just trade one-liners, but get under each other’s skins.”

Very Bad Things


Bachelor parties are supposed to be fun, right? Someone forgot to tell the guys in Very Bad Things, who end up — whoops! — killing the stripper (Kobe Tai). Despite what you may have heard about things staying in Vegas, the repercussions of the group’s actions quickly spiral out of control, with deaths and double-crossings piling up along the way. Things‘ pitch-black humor and almost wholly unsympathetic protagonists were understandably off-putting for audiences, who ignored the movie during its brief theatrical run — and while most critics were similarly unimpressed with its mean-spiritedness, Dwayne E. Leslie of Boxoffice Magazine was one of the scribes who wrote in its defense, saying that “the film wages a war against one’s moral senses in a story that’s unforgettable.”

Take a look through the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for The Hangover Part II.

Finally, here’s the trailer for Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation:

Tag Cloud

latino singing competition doctor who BET Awards Stephen King comedies FX on Hulu Paramount Plus richard e. Grant Mary Tyler Moore pirates of the caribbean DC streaming service transformers Mindy Kaling razzies australia summer preview game of thrones Kids & Family legend twilight obi wan Super Bowl 71st Emmy Awards YA TruTV cars The CW LGBTQ OWN TNT VOD VH1 Cartoon Network composers die hard serial killer kaiju Sony 2018 dreamworks Shondaland Chernobyl posters Columbia Pictures ghosts mcc Song of Ice and Fire Baby Yoda Creative Arts Emmys psycho Emmys WGN Pacific Islander foreign superhero E3 Film Comic Book wonder woman NYCC TCA Awards Bravo PBS 2017 24 frames scene in color summer TV See It Skip It Native Photos Best Actress all-time kong Best Actor Paramount Pictures joker Awards The Purge criterion Valentine's Day movie Disney Plus Pop Western Television Critics Association rotten movies we love obituary laika werewolf renewed TV shows Rocky Music christmas movies Focus Features art house Winter TV south america Comic-Con@Home 2021 Best Director dragons Comedy Hulu Red Carpet President rt labs critics edition young adult thriller new york Showtime IMDb TV Brie Larson natural history Star Wars Celebration king kong spider-man popular golden globes spanish language action-comedy Reality royal family cancelled television fast and furious Ghostbusters Acorn TV Opinion Alien spider-verse telelvision suspense based on movie Sundance TV Discovery Channel elevated horror period drama Winners asian-american Fox Searchlight revenge MGM HBO Max TCA 2017 green book Geeked Week DirecTV Spring TV Mary poppins The Witch independent cooking TV One universal monsters First Reviews know your critic BET Fall TV RT21 slashers IFC AMC TLC true crime Freeform HBO Sci-Fi adenture cops CW Seed what to watch psychological thriller Fox News television VICE Watching Series toy story Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Trailer Syfy Academy Awards unscripted Video Games rt archives SDCC sitcom TCA The Arrangement aapi Binge Guide sag awards FX scene in color series Broadway best FXX Apple Interview nbcuniversal marvel cinematic universe Quiz Christmas BBC One Walt Disney Pictures zombies MCU Hear Us Out Indigenous Disney+ Disney Plus batman scene in color film series Women's History Month classics dexter Animation critics TV movies New York Comic Con blockbusters docuseries prank CNN Trivia fresh scorecard Masterpiece documentary BBC Countdown A24 indie 94th Oscars Pet Sematary mob cartoon El Rey gangster monster movies Summer comic books zero dark thirty Apple TV Plus rom-coms name the review Character Guide Instagram Live marvel comics streaming Funimation Mystery hollywood E! video on demand YouTube Premium leaderboard superman war Polls and Games japanese 2016 reviews Cosplay comiccon boxing Extras adaptation Holiday crime thriller Heroines MSNBC festivals APB toronto ViacomCBS Tokyo Olympics South by Southwest Film Festival crime chucky Paramount Network strong female leads justice league mutant Best and Worst films Ovation Marvel nature dark Biopics binge CBS All Access police drama Film Festival Legendary 99% ESPN Calendar Awards Tour Holidays target scene in color Horror hispanic 2015 Spike TV Land Marathons new zealand Thanksgiving Netflix Exclusive Video Tumblr olympics streamig Tarantino dramedy screen actors guild dc series DGA GIFs Esquire 2019 remakes Fantasy Sundance Oscars hist festival CBS broadcast biography breaking bad book godzilla Marvel Studios MTV italian Shudder Disney Channel Oscar comic debate video Sony Pictures boxoffice cats OneApp Year in Review cancelled TV series YouTube tv talk Lifetime interviews halloween tv franchise casting worst Fargo AMC Plus documentaries YouTube Red Turner ABC Family First Look A&E ratings social media FOX vampires NBA Amazon Prime Video Tags: Comedy Starz saw 2020 scary international 93rd Oscars football spain crime drama Family anime hispanic heritage month Musical Writers Guild of America worst movies Amazon Studios 45 vs. versus Universal trailers Ellie Kemper Rocketman Vudu cancelled TV shows Star Trek SXSW 2022 2021 DC Universe canceled Black Mirror The Academy discovery Lifetime Christmas movies Crackle witnail HFPA Teen Amazon jurassic park new star wars movies ABC Signature Travel Channel PaleyFest Amazon Prime Marvel Television CMT Cannes spinoff mission: impossible Drama BAFTA Emmy Nominations Pop TV kids Tubi Comics on TV Dark Horse Comics target award winner GLAAD Prime Video Superheroe Anna Paquin The Walking Dead Universal Pictures summer TV preview trophy romantic comedy black comedy Turner Classic Movies cults Pirates Lionsgate Hallmark supernatural biopic National Geographic Podcast TV renewals RT History blockbuster finale 90s parents Hallmark Christmas movies Best Picture LGBT 1990s Election women IFC Films Premiere Dates Disney politics news Sneak Peek Certified Fresh History TV Image Comics slasher Neflix Crunchyroll 007 Logo Comedy Central black science fiction teaser Superheroes genre political drama spy thriller Nat Geo Toys Wes Anderson GoT Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spanish comics scary movies Reality Competition Martial Arts Grammys Set visit directors anthology Mary Poppins Returns 73rd Emmy Awards Warner Bros. cinemax Captain marvel satire jamie lee curtis Food Network TCM PlayStation sequels feel good book adaptation TBS theme song stoner Rock Nickelodeon king arthur The Walt Disney Company Endgame Rom-Com reboot 4/20 crossover stand-up comedy talk show screenings nfl miniseries SXSW Box Office robots archives Nominations dogs San Diego Comic-Con WarnerMedia Action Schedule Paramount 20th Century Fox 21st Century Fox TIFF HBO Go Britbox 79th Golden Globes Awards quibi cancelled rotten movies venice Classic Film Tomatazos Lucasfilm dceu diversity comic book movie game show aliens french canceled TV shows Country basketball ABC child's play technology USA Network Hollywood Foreign Press Association Disney streaming service heist movie Star Wars Television Academy sports medical drama Mudbound emmy awards Arrowverse American Society of Cinematographers free movies deadpool animated Musicals BBC America live action travel Infographic Adult Swim children's TV adventure Black History Month Avengers Apple TV+ zombie 72 Emmy Awards Pride Month historical drama TCA Winter 2020 space USA Pixar disaster lord of the rings ITV critic resources Peacock streaming movies Elton John live event comic book movies james bond X-Men indiana jones Trophy Talk sequel japan Spectrum Originals sopranos 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards SundanceTV halloween high school rt labs Netflix Christmas movies harry potter golden globe awards Sundance Now concert mockumentary a nightmare on elm street blaxploitation romance facebook Epix NBC docudrama stop motion hidden camera ID DC Comics