As Jimmie Shannon (Chris O'Donnell - Circle of Friends) sees each of his friends head down the aisle, ensnared by their partners, he has no plans to follow suit and get hitched. Even when he meets Anne (RenÃ©e Zellweger - The Whole Wide World) and they end up going steady he still has no desire to get married. But that is until his grandfather dies and leaves Jimmie a multi million fortune in his will because there is a proviso and that is he has to marry a woman by the time he is 30 and his 30th birthday just happens to be in a couple of days. What is worse is that after a poor attempt at proposing Anne heads off leaving Jimmie no choice but to try and find an old flame who will marry him before time runs out.
As romantic comedies go "The Bachelor" is one of the most disappointing I have watched because it is barely romantic and rarely funny. It's a shame because the actual idea with a marriage-phobe bachelor discovering he needs to marry by the time he is 30 to inherit a fortune is good, similar in a way to "Brewster's Millions" which it even mentions. But with "The Bachelor" coming in at 101 minutes there is really just one romantic scene, one genuinely funny scene and one scene which is sort of clever and as for the rest, well it's kind of dull.
So as already mentioned "The Bachelor" is basically the romantic comedy version of "Brewster's Millions" with Jimmie Shannon learning that in order to inherit a fortune from his grandpa he must say goodbye to his bachelor days and marry by the time he is 30, less than 48 hours away. It's not a bad idea and with Jimmie being in a relationship but not ready for marriage it makes it reasonably clever if not that original. The trouble is that once we discover his attempts to propose to Anne fail because his heart isn't in it, it becomes repetitively dull. It is repetitive because he goes from one old flame to another trying to convince them to marry him but being knocked back time and again.
Now all these knock back scenes are meant to be funny as one disastrous proposal follows another until his best friend Marco decides to place an ad in the paper out of sheer desperation. But there is no heart to any of it, no real gag or pain and so it becomes monotonous with the only entertainment being cameos from Mariah Carey, Sarah Silverman and Brooke Shields. The lack of heart also means that it comes short on being romantic despite coming close to giving us a truly romantic ending. And to be honest it doesn't take a genius to work out who Jimmie will end up marrying despite bodging up the proposals to her.
And in a way it is a shame that "The Bachelor" ends up so repetitively dull because in amongst the sea of mediocrity it does occasionally click. The opening scenes where Jimmie and his friends are attending a wedding and cower in fear when the bride throws the bouquet is fun. And the scene where Jimmie talks to the priest and learns that before becoming a man of the cloth he had been married is quite beautiful. But these are just brief moments in a movie which ultimately doesn't click.
What is also disappointing is the amount of talent, not a huge amount but alongside stars Chris O'Donnell and RenÃ©e Zellweger there is also James Cromwell, Hal Holbrook and Edward Asner. But they are all playing very flat caricatures, people who you just don't warm to and so don't care about. It is also a case that Chris O'Donnell and RenÃ©e Zellweger have zero chemistry and so whilst you know what will happen between them you don't care if your guess happens or not.
What this all boils down to is that "The Bachelor" is a disappointing romantic comedy which wastes a reasonable idea for a snappy rom-com. It's not a totally terrible movie, in fact the few scenes which work are very good, but it does come up short when it comes to both being funny and romantic.