The Bachelor Weekend (2013)

Andrew Scott, Hugh O'Conor, Peter McDonald, Brian Gleeson
A bachelor party weekend in the great outdoors takes some unexpected detours.
The Bachelor Weekend offers nothing new on the narrative front, but its strong ensemble cast and well-written gags more than compensate for any lack of originality.
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Love is only chatter, Friends are all that matter.5/10
Marketed as an Irish version of The Hangover, cinema goers expecting to see a gross-out outlandish comedy will be left disappointed. In its place they will find a charming, genuinely touching and not to mention hilarious comedy drama. This is a movie that belongs more in the realism of Barrytown then the fantasy world of Las Vegas.

At her wits end with fiancee Fionan's (Hugh O'Conor) obsessing over every detail of their upcoming nuptials (particularly in one fantastic scene with wedding planner Justine Mitchell – who nearly walks off with the film in her brief scene), Ruth (Amy Huberman), enlists the help of his best man Davin (Moriarty himself, Andrew Scott) to take the metro… Politan Fionan away for a stag weekend. He is joined by mild mannered U2 denier Simon (Brian Gleeson), gay couple Kevin and Kevin (Andrew Bennett and Michael Legge) and, against his best efforts, by Ruth's boorish brother, known as The Machine (Moone Boy's Peter McDonald).

The set up is nothing original, with everything from The Hangover to last year's Few Best Men mining the pre-wedding blow-out as an excuse for raunchy, far flung mayhem. What sets this film apart is that none of the cast fall into their expected token role. The Machine could quite easily have turned into the movie's equivalent of Stiffler but McDonald (who also co-wrote the script) is in spectacular form, grounding his character with real depth and a realism to any group of friends who all have that 'one' within the group. He never crosses the line to offensive or tasteless and, as a result, the audience is rewarded with a character that resembles an actual person as opposed to a catchphrase spouting bore.

The cast are excellent across the board, Brian Gleeson (son of Irish film legend Brendan) shows enough guile and put upon humor to suggest it won't be too long before his name isn't suffixed with his famous father's name and becomes a respected talent in his own right. Andrew Bennett and Michael Legge convey a wonderful chemistry as a couple plagued with all too real and topical problems and thankfully their sexuality is never played for tasteless laughs. Their story arc is beautifully handled and threatens to overshadow the main plot, which sees tensions between Davin and Fionan simmering to a boil due to the best man's feelings towards his friend's fiancee. Scott, fresh from his reappearance in Sherlock, gives a wonderfully nuanced performance, his eyes tinged with sadness while maintaining his loyalty to his best friend. The duality is never conveyed better than during his heartbreaking rendition of the Patrick Kavanagh classic Raglan Road, which hopefully will find its way into the soundtrack. Stuck with what could have been the least interesting role in the movie theater, stand out Hugh O'Conor inhibits Fionan with enough restraint so as to never make the character a whiny cliche, but also stands his ground enough that we never want to just see him cast aside for the more romantic Davin to step in. It is a very tricky balancing act and O'Conor, who has been on the cusp of a break out role for the past few years, absolutely nails it.

The film though will ultimately live and die by one measuring stick, is it funny? And on that front the film is a massive success. Foregoing any artificially outrageous set pieces – no tigers or giraffe decapitations here. The film instead relies on the delivery of its talented cast, along with its slick humor and stinging one liners. This is not to say that director John Butler is above moments of crudeness, as he puts his game cast through the ringer during one unforgettable reenactment of the Emperor Penguin huddle. It is a nice commentary on male bonding rituals without ever sacrificing story for laughs. It is the best Irish film for quite some time and seems destined to be spoken about in the same terms as The Snapper or The Commitments. Highly recommended.
Hilarious and Touching8/10
So originally i thought this would simply be the Irish version of the hangover movies, however i had an essay to write and so i was prepared to watch anything to avoid doing it. I was wrong. The Stag did have the laddish banter in it, with one character known as "the machine" seeming to be a borderline psychopath whose outlandish exploits would gain laughs from mainly a prepubescent male demographic. But the machine's care free, reckless attitude to life helped bring out a more liberated and daring side; to the somewhat awkward and geeky, metro sexual characters. This film had a great balance of humor and touching moments, including the machine singing at the wedding. What i also loved about this film is that it didn't have Irish stereotype characters who were just wanting to get hammered and have a fight, but they were more honest and real characters who each had their own obstacles and problems to face, which helped show the character development as they dealt with these issues. Overall a great film, one that i will definitely be buying on DVD when it comes out!
Wonderful comedy9/10
I'm not quite sure why this film has so many bad reviews. I know a lot of people saw the trailer and dismissed it as a Hangover wannabe, but this film was far from it.

The cast was amazing and the film had a surprising depth to it, I was expecting a silly stag comedy, but instead got a movie that was really character-focused, rather than situation-focused. I do disagree with the film being renamed for American audiences, because the film has the word "Stag" in it multiple times, and honestly, you can sort of work it out. "The Bachelor Weekend" really does sound like the name of a bad rip off of The Hangover from a $2 shop.

The only other issue I had with it was the lack of chemistry between the bride and the groom, but they're not seen together much in the film so it's pretty much a non-issue. Don't watch this film if you're looking for a trashy comedy, it's probably not for you.

It actually felt a bit like The World's End, there was plenty of comedy, and the cinematography was brilliant, but the main focus was on a few metro men in their mid thirties being strung along by a madman.
All the Earmarks...10/10
...of a big budget movie without the big budget.

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, always tantalizing, impossible to look away.

Great acting, immaculate pacing.

The story begins with some solid character development, then the flies begin to land in the ointment. You can anticipate but you can never predict what's going to happen next.

This is an Irish film, and I've seen some of the actors before, but I couldn't name a one. Nevertheless, they turned in big time performances leading me to believe that several of them must be stars in Ireland.

The writing/dialogue is first class. The laughs come fast enough to be very hip without being annoying.
Perfectly executed, and deeper than you may think9/10
What may seem like a small fun, light-hearted comedy on the surface, turns out to be an incredibly fun, emotionally moving story which addresses the topic of masculinity in 2014.

It's simple, it's really simple even – it's just a group of guys going on a Stag, and they unfortunately have to share it with the bride's crazy brother, known only as "The Machine" – so what makes it so special? It's an incredibly well executed, heart-warming tale in which every character is unique and lovable, and each actor delivers a fantastic performance in their respective roles. Andrew Scott of BBC's Sherlock is probably the main attraction here, but even his brilliant performance is easily upstaged by Hugh O'Conor and Peter McDonald who completely dissolve into their roles.

Peter McDonald and John Butler's script brings to life these characters in a very fun-loving way. There's nothing outrageous or false about the comedic moments, they're genuine and at times heart-warming, which is a welcome change from what we've come to expect from comedy films. But beyond a few gags there's so much honesty in the storytelling and how the events unfold that you can't help but be drawn to it and immerse yourself in the characters' situation, to the point where you feel like you're a guest at their wedding after the Stag. With so many human, authentic moments, there is something about this tale that will undoubtedly appeal to you – and then there's the comedic aspect of the film, which is above-all, the icing on the cake.

"The Stag" brings forth a very important message about how we have a tendency to approach modern masculinity in a traditional fashion, and the movie acts as a learning experience for both the audience and the characters, resulting in the most heart-warming Irish comedy in the last 5 years.

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