The Bachelor

USA 1999

Reviewed by Danny Leigh


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

San Francisco, the present. Bachelor Jimmy Shannon cherishes his girlfriend Anne, but remains terrified of marriage. Visiting his grandfather whose business he runs, Jimmy is instructed to wed as a matter of urgency. Reluctantly, he proposes to Anne. However, his wording is so inept she dumps him. Jimmy's grandfather dies: the will bequeaths $100 million and control of the company to Jimmy on condition he marries before his thirtieth birthday - which will be 6:05pm the following day. With a priest in tow, Jimmy again proposes to Anne. Unaware of his grandfather's will, she refuses and leaves town. Jimmy embarks on a manic nocturnal mission to find a bride, approaching all his ex-girlfriends. By morning, each has rejected him.

Jimmy's friend Marco guarantees him a wife, and disappears. In the meantime, the priest convinces Jimmy to wed Anne. Jimmy enters the church, where he is besieged by the city's single women; Marco got the story of Jimmy's inheritance on to the front page of the local newspaper. Jimmy learns Anne is back in town. Fleeing the church, he tells her about the will and convinces her he is ready to commit. The pair are separated as Jimmy is pursued through the city by a mob of women, but in the nick of time Jimmy and Anne wed at exactly 6:05pm.


Besides its appeal (or otherwise) as a generic romantic comedy, The Bachelor holds a particular interest for those who cherish Buster Keaton since it is (at least ostensibly) a remake of the great man's Seven Chances (1925). It may be worth noting, however, that the resemblance is entirely fleeting. Once the premise of a confirmed singleton needing to marry fast to inherit millions has been appropriated, The Bachelor only invokes the spirit of its source material for its climactic chase sequence.

Needless to say, this is the best moment The Bachelor has to offer. Seven Chances is, after all, a masterclass in the on-screen hunt (with almost half its running time devoted to Keaton's blank-faced flight), and - even stripped of Keaton's cascading boulders - the spectacle of a thousand angry brides in vexed pursuit of their prey, wedding dresses careening in the wind, remains astoundingly funny. In the workmanlike context of its surroundings here, the effect is rather like seeing a band struggle through a set of lacklustre originals, only to raise the roof with a timeless cover as their closing number.

Equally, you can't help feeling the chase is something of a high point for director Gary Sinyor himself, whose inspired debut Leon the Pig Farmer (and subsequent hit-and-miss CV) demonstrated his strengths lie firmly in the deadpan. Time and again, Sinyor seems happiest when dabbling in impassive, Keatonesque absurdity. There's a similar glee in Jimmy's first proposal to his girlfriend Anne at San Francisco's famously romantic Starlight Rooms, accompanied by countless identical males going through exactly the same ritual at exactly the same time, right down to the synchronous popping of questions and champagne corks at every table.

It's only when he has to deal with the formulaic stodge between the set-pieces that Sinyor and The Bachelor come unstuck. For a start, the film never reveals exactly what it is Jimmy and Anne see in one another. She begins proceedings as an independent-minded match for her capricious beau, only to dissolve into the kind of woman who literally sits by the phone waiting for him to call. Jimmy, meanwhile, veers between egotistical corporate goon and selfless philanthropist with disconcerting regularity.

That said, the situation isn't helped by the leads' performances. Renée Zellweger (Anne) appears to be acting from the nose, wrinkling it one way to denote pleasure, another to indicate melancholy; Chris O'Donnell (Jimmy) finds himself in the unenviable position of inviting comparison with his predecessor and, whatever else he may be, he's no Buster Keaton. The result, intermittently cute though it may be, ultimately fails to rise above the level of innocuous fodder (albeit with an exceptional pedigree).


Gary Sinyor
Lloyd Segan
Bing Howenstein
Steve Cohen
Based on the play 'Seven Chances' by Roi Cooper Megrue and the screenplay by Clyde Bruckman, Jean Havez and Joseph Mitchell for the film
starring and directed by Buster Keaton
Director of Photography
Simon Archer
Robert Reitano
Production Designer
Craig Stearns
David A. Hughes
John Murphy
©New Line Productions, Inc.
Production Companies
New Line Cinema presents a Lloyd Segan Company production in association with
George Street Pictures
Executive Producers
Michael De Luca
Chris O'Donnell
Donna Langley
Leon Dudevoir
Stephen Hollocker
Line Producer
Gene Levy
Executive in Charge of Production
Carla Fry
Production Supervisor
Nancy J. King
Production Controller
Paul Prokop
Production Co-ordinators
Nelson Tuon
Emily Glatter
Unit Production Manager
Gene Levy
Location Managers
Ned Shapiro
San Francisco:
Stefanie Lee Pleet
Executive in Charge of:
Jody Levin
Rick Reynolds
Assistant Directors
Richard Graves
William M. Connor
David Hyman
Rusty Mahmood
San Francisco:
Joseph Aspromonti
Script Supervisor
P.R. Tooke
Valerie McCaffrey
Joe Adams
Ayo Davis
Director of Aerial Photography
David B. Nowell
Camera Operators
Phil Carr-Forster
Dick Montagne
Steadicam Operator
Mark O'Kane
Visual Effects
Perpetual Motion Picture Company
Richard Malzahn
René Clark
Visual Effects
CFC/MVFX Los Angeles
Digital Supervisor:
Rob Hodgson
Plate Supervisor:
David Goldberg
Jonathan F. Styrlund
Travis Baumann
Matt Dessero
Matt '45' Magnolia
Executive Producer:
Daniel J. Lombardo
Digital Bouquet Sequences Designed by
Nina Saxon/New Wave Entertainment
Special Effects Co-ordinator
San Francisco:
David Kelsey
Associate Editors
Lynel Moore Cioffi
Roger Cooper
Art Director
Randy Moore
Set Designers
Eric P. Sundahl
Barbara Mesney
Set Decorator
Ellen Totleben
Scenic Artist
Lorena Diane Fortier
Storyboard Artist
Dan Caplan
Costume Designer
Terry Dresbach
Costume Supervisor
Eric H. Sandberg
Key Artist:
Gary Liddiard
Kimberly Felix-Burke
Gary 'Dennis' Liddiard Jr
Key Hairstylist
Joy Zapata
Geordie Sheffer
Main/End Titles
Nina Saxon/New Wave Entertainment
Pacific Title
Featured Vocalists
Jane L. Powell
Thomas Lang
Solo Soprano:
Janet Mooney
Featured Players
Jason Ashcroft
Upright Bass:
Pete Wilmot
Ged Ryan
Ged Lynch
Dave Hartley
Orchestral Leader
Gavyn Wright
Music Conductor/
David Arch
Music Co-arranger
Greg Francis
Music Executives
Paul Broucek
Dana Sano
Music Co-ordinator
Bob Bowen
Music Editor
J.J. George
Richard Scott
Orchestral Engineer
Mike Ross-Trevor
Music Mixer
Rick Riccio
Music Consultant
John Houlihan
"Don't Fence Me In" by Cole Porter, performed by David Byrne; "Hernando's Hideaway" by Jerry Ross, Richard Adler, performed by Billy May and his Orchestra; "Little Arrows" by Albert Hammond, Mike Hazlewood, performed by Leapy Lee; "O'Fortuna" from "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, performed by
CSR Symphony Orchestra and Slovak Philharmonic Chorus; "Papa Chew Do the Boo-ga-loo" (Part 1)" by Jerry Murray, Samuel Kaplan, performed by Tom and Jerryo; "So Long!" by John C. Boydston, Barry Shulman, William Beatty, performed by Indigo Swing; "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Ewan MacColl; "Lie Low" by Matt Bronleewe, Steffany Vandeveer, Tiffany Arbuckle, performed by Plumb; "Hot Salsa", "French Kiss", "Fugee Fugue", "Bontempi" by/performed by Hughes & Murphy; "Barbara Allen" performed by Dave Lymm; "You're the First the Last My Everything" by P. Sterling Radcliffe, Tony Sepe, Barry White, performed by Barry White; "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody (medley)" by Leonello Casucci, Irving Caesar, Julius Brammer, Roger Graham, Spencer Williams, performed by Louis Prima; "It Must Be Love" by Labi Siffre, performed by Madness; "Hit the Road Jack" by Percy Mayfield, performed by Buster Poindexter; "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin; "Acerina" by Carlos Cuevas, performed by Los De Abajo; "Pao de Acucar" by Daniel Indart, performed by Daniel Indart Quartet, Tracey Carmen; "Cha Cha on the Moon" by Ronnie Bridges, Charles Rose, performed by Pat Reader; "Could You Be Loved" by/performed by Bob Marley; "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)" by Raynard Miner, Carl Smith, Gary Jackson, performed by Jackie Wilson
Sound Mixer
Richard Bryce Goodman
Re-recording Mixers
Andy D'Addario
Tim Chau
Neal Porter
Chris Sparkes
Sound Editors
Nils Jensen
Douglas Jackson
David Kern
Dialogue Editor
Jim Brookshire
Supervising Sound Effects Editor
Donald J. Malouf
Thomas Whiting
Jeannette Browning
Doc Kane
Rich Green
Gregg Barbanell
Laura Macias
Scott Weber
Stunt Co-ordinator
Rocky Capella
Rudy Ugland
Helicopter Pilot
Robert 'Bobby Z.' Zajonc
Chris O'Donnell
Jimmy Shannon
Renée Zellweger
Hal Holbrook
James Cromwell
Artie Lange
Edward Asner
Marley Shelton
Sarah Silverman
Stacy Edwards
Rebecca Cross
Jennifer Esposito
Katharine Towne
Peter Ustinov
Mariah Carey
Brooke Shields
Lydell M. Cheshier
Robert Kotecki
Pat Finn
Timothy Paul Perez
Romy Rosemont
Kelly Jean Peters
Jane L. Powell
Starlight Room singer
Jim Jackman
nervous guy
Christopher Carroll
maître d'
Kevin Jones
Michael Deeg
Erik Kever Ryle
Brian Leonard
Mary J. White
florist assistant
Edith Fields
Joe Meek
Michael Lee Merrins
Lisa Nalen
'Anne' on the street
Brantley Bush
Nicholas Pryor
Maree Cheatham
Mark Norby
Ken Baldwin
Gustavo Vargas
Salsa dancers
Natalie Bartlett
O'Dell's daughter
Cheri Rae Russell
biker bride
Jodi Taylor
older bride
Jenni Pulos
big hair bride
Rebecca Gray
Kiva Dawson
punk brides
Anastasia Horne
preppy bride
Niecy Nash
African-American bride
T.L. Brooke
big bride
Marnie Alexenberg
brunette bride
Lea Moon Llovio
Latina bride
Robin Lyon
Elizabeth Guber
Nancy O'Dell
questioning brides
Marnie Schneider
Muslim bride
Louis Ganapoler
Entertainment Film Distributors Ltd
9,182 feet
102 minutes 1 second
SDDS/Dolby digital/DTS stereo
Colour by
Prints by
Anamorphic [Panavision]
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011