November 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

I know there’s a weird, retro trend among certain twentysomethings to replicate the mating attitudes of pre-feminist traditionalists, but The Bachelor, a strained remake of Buster Keaton’s effortlessly delightful silent 1925 comedy ”Seven Chances,” is attitudinally neither here nor there. Chris O’Donnell is Jimmy, a young man with a morbid fear of getting hitched. Renée Zellweger is his girlfriend, who is less than awed by his proposal: ”You win.” She bails, just as Jimmy learns he will inherit $100 million from his late grandfather (a hammy Peter Ustinov) — provided he marries by his 30th birthday. Which is tomorrow.

O’Donnell’s desire to play bad (or at least not adorable) and Zellweger’s yen to play light (or at least not snuffly) are admirable. But as hectically directed by Gary Sinyor (”Stiff Upper Lips”) from a labored screenplay by Steve Cohen, the two are uneasily stuck together like strangers united by a Moonie minister.

The climax, in which a thousand wannabe brides chase Jimmy, would look great in a 1950s (or Buster Keaton) comedy. But the mood is ruined by the bitchy 1990s stereotyping of the husband hunters — including a militant fat one, a pathetic old one, and even, you bet, a big-mama black one. Just say I don’t.

type
Movie
Genre
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
102 minutes
director
Cast
James Cromwell,
Hal Holbrook,
Artie Lange,
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