The differences between men (who, in case you haven't watched sitcoms or stand-ups in a while, hate marriage) and women (who love it) get rehashed once again in The Bachelor, a film that, among other mistakes, attempts to coast on the charms of Chris O'Donnell. One of the least charismatic pretty faces working today (outside of his appearance in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune), the one-time Boy Wonder proves yet again that a smirk and a glint are never enough to carry a leading role. O'Donnell plays, as the title suggests, a bachelor who stands to inherit a fortune if he meets the conditions laid out in the will of his belligerent grandfather, played by a frighteningly deathlike Peter Ustinov: namely, to marry before 6:05 p.m. on his 30th birthday. After failing to woo his steady girlfriend (Renée Zellweger, who deserves better), O'Donnell goes searching for willing ex-girlfriends, a roster that includes Mariah Carey, Sarah Silverman, and, in a not particularly delightful surprise cameo, Brooke Shields. Director Gary Sinyor, who may be the genius behind the decision to underscore his title character's appearances by playing "Just A Gigolo" on the soundtrack, moves things along briskly, but in a way that makes The Bachelor seem far more amused by itself than it deserves to be. By the fifth time he shows O'Donnell running against a blue-screen projection of wild mustangs to symbolize his bachelor spirit, the point has already been made. (And in case just watching O'Donnell weren't enough, The Bachelor leans heavily on his voiceover, just so it's perfectly clear what's going on.) The film owes both its premise and its mob-of-brides finale to the Buster Keaton film Seven Chances, and it hardly needs to be said that it doesn't live up to its source material—though it ought to own up to it. It's one of the most laugh-free attempts at comedy in a year that has also featured the comic stylings of Denise Richards in Drop Dead Gorgeous.
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