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Perfectly executed, and deeper than you may think
stuart-comerford18 April 2014
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.

Follow me on twitter: @StuartComerford
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Love is only chatter, Friends are all that matter.
hediditallrelaxed16 May 2014
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 fiancée 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 fiancée. 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 cliché, 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.
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Hilarious and Touching
jdowen-2419 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
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!
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Wonderful comedy
madelineisbored30 June 2014
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.
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Amusing Film About Male Self-Discovery
l_rawjalaurence29 October 2014
Five middle-class Irish men go away on a hiking weekend to celebrate Fionnan's (Hugh O'Conor's) stag-party. They spend a lot of time and money trying to find the appropriate gear, and look forward to enjoying themselves. Unfortunately their leisure-time looks as if it might ruined by the presence of The Machine (aka Richard) (Peter McDonald), a boorish bully, who just so happens to be Fionnan's future brother-in-law.

The basic scenario of John Butler's film provides the basis for a weekend of discovery, as all six men realize that their preconceptions have turned out to be false. Fionnan, a slightly metrosexual personality who did not really want to go away at all, finds out something about his best friend Davin's (Andrew Scott's) past that puts their relationship to the test. The two Kevins (Michael Legge, Andrew Bennett) understand that they are not really social outcasts after all, even in the eyes of Fionnan's father (John Kavanagh). The Machine turns out to be a vulnerable person, covering up his personality deficiencies under a veil of bravado. On the other hand, he has a devil-may-care attitude to life that exposes some of the middle- class pretensions of his five fellow- hikers.

Butler and McDonald's script contains some very funny moments, especially when we see Davin trying to negotiate plans for his wedding with the planner Linda (Justine Mitchell), who obviously has little or no clue about what he is saying. The film contains some neat set pieces - notably the sequence where The Machine inadvertently sets fire to the tent, forcing the hikers to live rough, something they had never really anticipated. They had simply viewed the hike as an extension of their middle-class existence; now they have really been catapulted 'back to nature'. Later on they throw off their clothes and go for a naked midnight swim; unfortunately the idea goes horribly wrong, forcing all of them to confront themselves totally unclothed, both physically and emotionally.

The basic scenario of THE BACHELOR WEEKEND (aka THE STAG) might be a familiar one - the importance of male bonding as a means of self- discovery - but the material has been handled with a light touch. In the end the film has an important point to make about friendship and trust as the basis of any effective relationship between people, irrespective of their gender. Needless to say, the action ends happily with everyone reconciled and Davin manages to wed his fiancée Ruth (Amy Huberman).
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All the Earmarks...
nicky-5826 July 2014
...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.
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A funny, heart-warming 'bromance'.
guidance-932-156517 March 2014
This film is a beautifully shot and directed film which is both funny and very heart-warming. The final scene will bring a tear to the hardest of hearts.

The laughs come quick and fast and the characters are well developed. John Butler manages to show us real people and makes the characters easy to relate to. While there will be many comparisons to The Hangover, this is almost the opposite end of the spectrum. The situation and individuals are more like a real version of a stag weekend that many viewers will recognize. The gay couple are also refreshingly not used for laughs.

Andrew Scott delivers a very solid performance and Hugh O'Connor is definitely one to watch. Peter McDonald in his role of THE MACHINE is hilarious and will have you snorting with laughter.
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Give this one a wide berth
harliquinz12 May 2014
I sat down in the mood for a nice little light hearted comedy, as the previous reviews on IMDb had promised. A look at the nine and ten out of ten scores and an overall of 6.5 gave me the idea that if not brilliant, would have some laughs and be a decent film. How wrong I was. This is the sort of film that has adopted the 'all men are useless, clueless, fools, but in touch with their feminine sides' school of film making. The main characters are clunky, inept caricatures that one could have been forgiven for thinking that they had originally been written as pre adolescent girls, not grown men. Their ineptitude was the set up for the "comedy", which was just not funny and seemed very contrived. It all just served to irritate after a very short while and continued to do so as the film progressed. The line up consisted of some rather quite good actors and i'm not sure if it was the awful script, bed set ups, bad direction, miscasting or a combination of all the above, but non of their previously seen talent could have cut through this drivel with a chainsaw. I should think most of them will be embarrassed to have this movie on their C.V's. I think all in all, the high rating given to this film must be from interested parties skewing the figures and will in time even out when more people have faced the ordeal of sitting through this lame excuse for a comedy. i would avoid this one, go paint the fence or something, it'll be more productive.
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Fantastically funny and genuinely touching
harkness0420 April 2014
Absolutely fell in love with this film. It has a stellar casting, beautiful countryside that makes me miss Ireland an awful lot and the scripting is brilliant. Some genuinely hilarious moments during the film and above all it culminated to be incredibly touching, a true look at the beauty of friendships through the good and bad times in life, make sure you bring some tissues because Andrew Scott goes above and beyond. This is Irish film at its best and I found cast members I hadn't seen before to be exceptionally brilliant. Above all, just let the film carry you on its journey and you'll find yourself laughing and crying. You'll appreciate your friends a lot more afterwards.
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Well shot, but it is so bad.
cmhostels26 March 2014
On the positive, the film is well shot and shows some lovely Irish countryside but unfortunately that's where the positives stop.

The movie is entirely derivative - a mix between American Pie and The Hangover with entire scenes being duplicated. There are very few laughs here though. The casting of "The Machine" - a Steve Stiffler styled character inexplicably steeped in legend - is terrible. It just doesn't sit on him. But then the character has so many holes that no casting would have saved him. Character progression, particularly in the end scene is beyond ridiculous. And the writers didn't even attempt to iron out holes in the script - problems are just resolved without any attempt at an explanation.

Generally all the problems might have been forgiven if the characters were any way likable but the D4 caricatures are so hard to have empathy for it makes it hard to forgive any of the film's other flaws.
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dlions198 April 2014
Firstly, this film is awfully shot, every shot has an over the top depth of field that gets tiring, the entire film looks like an ad shot for McDonalds.

The acting, don't get me wrong, is horrendous (The Machine's unexplained American accent is at the height of the absurdities). However, with such bad writing and a lack of any actual jokes, fault can't be placed with the cast. Everything about this film is predictable, everything which is about to happen is set up in such an obvious and underwhelming way.

And when I say lack of jokes, I mean this film is devoid of any actual comedic content. The funniest part of this film for me was when Andrew Scott's character Davin, (or Gay-Vin, as The Machine calls him, I wish I joking, this is apparently what qualifies as a quip in this film) sings "On Raglan Road" in its entirety in the middle of a scene, its bizarre.

This film is bad, so, so bad. And at a time when Ireland has so many film-makers with such potential, the Irish Film Board should be striving to promote originality, not churning out this absolute rubbish.

Do yourself a favour and don't see this film.
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lars-985-1484827 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The best part about the movie was the Irish Countryside and it is easy to get a grant from the Irish Film Board. A lot of the scenes appear to have been duplicated from other movies. The jokes were stale and predictable. A lot of the actors were miscast, especially, if the movie was geared towards an American audience. There was little chemistry between the bride and groom and there was no originality to the movie. I felt little empathy for the characters as they represented everything I disliked about the celtic tiger. The movie had potential, but needed to be worked on a few months more. The budget was clearly minute, so fair play for delivering a film on such a tight budget.
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Just Not funny
davidbunworth3 September 2018
The script was so poor that the actors tried hard to make some sense of it. The characters are not credible and one of them would have been decked in the first ten minutes had he behaved with any group of people I know. I didn't find any scene even mildly amusing. It's well produced and directed but the script is so awful it's a cringe fest. They laugh at things that at best are mildly amusing. Contrived and embarrassing
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Ball of poop really
Irishchatter25 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
By looking at all the postive reviews involved here, I was really appalled at this movie. Yes the gorgeous Amy Huberman is in this but to be honest, this is one of her worst films she ever got involved in and the wedding dress they had her to wear in the end wasn't very stunning enough..

Story is bleak, not even funny and really cringy. I just dont understand how it got such positive reviews, it just doesn't deserve it!

I would love to give this a 0 since it just wasn't a great watch...
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I want to divorce this movie and throw away its stuff before we get married.
GiraffeDoor8 August 2019
Bizarrely paced and toned comedy that starts focusing on the lacklustre love life of the groom's friend but then makes a U-turn into yet another bachelor party comedy and it has all the intellectualism of the subgenre but none of the skill or the intelligence.

Flimsily built around a direly hateable character the writers seem to think is funny, we quickly end up in one painful and evitable situation after another but with none of the panache and charm that made The Hangover a hit.

A jagged script, bland characters, a revolting commitment to make this ugly painfest into a "heartwarming" comedy, at one point "The Machine" insists he will make U2 another characters favourite band and manages because the writers are gods in this universe.

It's not even one of those, so-off-the-wall-it's-somewhat engaging kind of trash. I fast forwarded through the more long drawn out sequences of bullying. Because that's what this movie basically is.

I know The Republic of Ireland only has 4 million people in it but I feel that if I can count the Irish movies I've seen on my fingers, none should be this bad.

Just watch Moone Boy if you want brilliant Irish comedy. I think the Machine in this movie plays the dad.
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Great entertainment!
skinthegoat18 April 2014
A frothy romp, encompassing all those aspects of the human condition designed by a bored deity for the amusement of pilgrims trudging the road to happy destiny: nudity, the institution of marriage, and the question that has bedevilled the Boy Scout movement since Baden Powell's day: whether to jerk off inside or outside the communal tent. But for this critic the film was lifted out of the ordinary by the virtuoso performance of B. McCaughley (as B. McCaughly) as father of the bride. I thought he brought to the role a perfect balance between the gravitas, the graceful aplomb, of a James Robertson Justice and the elfin charm of an arthritic David Norris. His performance will come as no surprise to stage cognoscenti, who will not easily forget Honey, Well I shrunk the Kids (1980), or the hilarious frilly-knickers tour-de-force Under the Boardwalk (1991). And breathes there a cinema buff who has not gripped the edge of his tip-up seat throughout the thrilling 2002 suspense drama The Smoking Hoover? But it is a sad measure of the parochialism of the Irish cinema scene that this splendid thespian is nowadays better known among the tattooed and bearded roughnecks of the Oakland chapter than among the Great Unwashed in the one-and-thruppenies here at home.
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Always rewarding to "discover" an enjoyable little indie film like this one.
Instant_Palmer9 December 2015
Very nice surprise.

Always rewarding to "discover" an enjoyable film like this one.

The film starts off with a few cliché' (though tolerable) scenes, but then The Machine (Peter McDonald) enters the film, and the movie sets off on its eccentric adventure in the wood.

A feel good movie that has quite a few funny, and a few "sweet moments" thrown in the mix.

Compared to The Hangover series, The Bachelor Weekend draws you into the characters.

A good film you may have missed!
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Not what you might be expecting
harrybosdaddy20 August 2019
This is a lovely little film. The title will make you think it's a raucous American-style film. The kind that's been done over and over, but it's not. It's a deeper and more real experience. Guys in their 30s and 40s will relate to this film but don't expect boobs and booze, it's better than that.
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So Bad
neil-293536 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I checked the reviews before wasting a couple of hours on this and it seemed that there were a lot of 10's and a lots score closer to 0's, Its always hard to know who is correct in this situation. Believe me the scores closer to 0's are spot on.

I'm guessing you know enough background about the film from the title and trailers.. 6 lads on a hill walking stag weekend... right?

Billed as a comedy but this is as far from comedy as you could get. Its completely devoid of any humour... They try so hard to be original and they really aren't. Predictable and truth be told pretty boring.

Yes they put the characters as the new style D4 Irish rather than the stereotyped drinkers and fighters which are so often portrayed in films but they were equally bad and offensive.

The only exception to the group is the one character called "The Machine" who is called "The Machine" with the emphasis on "the" in every other line in the script...oh dear god please stop... it couldn't have been more annoying. Even his sister phones him and says "Hi, The Machine"... seriously so annoying.

I don't know what angle they were trying with the gay couple...were they trying to shock us on film 30 years too late? Were they trying to shock us that Ireland has a gay community??... this couple in a relationship of 6 years in every scene stuck to each other like love sick teenagers... *gasp a man hugging another man... the outrage... I can only assume they did that so that you could differentiate from the other 3 male characters (not including "The Machine" because you really wouldn't know who was supposed to be gay.

Apologies to the gay community if you are all really loved up after 6 years together...maybe I'm just an old cynic

Anyway... it was all very obvious what was going to happen... losing their clothes, chased by the dog and the farmer....absolute pants. To conclude with an overly sentimental sickly best man speech and bizarre poorly mimed cover version of a U2 song after a nonsensical out of place rallying speech for the people of Ireland...

Oh one last thing... accents!!???!!! Peter McDonald who is a pretty fine actor what was going on with the accent?.. Born in Dublin yet it jumped from the North, to the midlands to an American accent...

and the rest sounded English

Do yourself a favour and don't watch this
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Irish sorts of romance
anitad81930 July 2014
Guess this will be sorts of soft- romance love story for this rainy day;oops, nit...

And totally not that pop romance like American drama. But Seriously- Touching and edgy way of storytelling art.

It looks that Irish are so strong emotional towards fresh and nature living. and that nature is grown into every wild Irish actors. like Jonathan mayor; like Oscar Wilde... those people are wild and genius and suffering so much from their talents.

back to the film; its a story happening during a stag; and some man are happy with life, some are broke, and some are broke and spiritually given-away, but still love being Irish. Pretty unreal; pretty wild setting; pretty strong Gothic... and thats all in film; to the end, everyone is living upon their GOAL of life: Fionnan got happy home with Ruth; Simon broke his heart with ex but got all his friends. The Machine got his spiritual achievement and gave the best performance on wedding, and taught his friends what friends really means to his idea...

Be cool with your life. dude... and love your women by-sides...
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insightful and genuinely hilarious
Raven-19693 August 2014
Fionnan is such a sensitive guy that not only does he refuse to have a traditional stag gathering before his wedding, he declares that he will be a part of the hen cluster if his fiancé so chooses. This sickens even his openly gay friend. Lovingly urged on by Fionnan's fiancé, his friends drag Fionnan on a camping trip in the wilderness. It is an expedition that all of them are woefully unprepared for. They can't even make it out of the camping supply store without getting into trouble. Things get worse for them when Fionnan's future brother in law, a man's man, tracks the hapless and effeminate group down. Despite an ending that you can see coming a mile away, this insightful and genuinely hilarious episode of male bonding is a treat to watch. Seen at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
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Stale Comedy
jachaidez-918-53450912 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
That's all I can say to describe this film. Now I can appreciate it not being another wannabe Hangover movie but come on. How can this be described as a comedy? Yes there are a few funny grunt moments here and there but the whole thing just comes off as annoying. By the way The Machine? How many times does a character have to call someone by their nickname beginning with The? The overuse of this nickname is mind-numbing, yes that's his nickname but why not just say "hey, machine" after mentioning him in the beginning? You never hear the characters in Old School refer to Hank as Hank The Tank every single time they mention him or speak to him in the movie. Why? Because it get's irritating.

Now I understand that past reviewers have mentioned the deep message in the film, and while I appreciate it, it just doesn't flow well with the promotion of this movie. The title is called The Stag, set in Ireland, with the movie poster depicting what you might think would be a hilarious stag party set in Ireland. But no. Instead it's about a web designer, a gay couple, two best friends who are in love with the same woman and a guy who calls himself The Machine (which is a really bad nickname to give someone, the writers could've been a little more creative in this area) running around in the woods like...well as Red Forman would say, "a bunch of dumba****.

The characters and the general idea of a stag party in Ireland is a great premise for a film. But the story is just not what I was expecting. Why not have it start in the city and then with the crazy antics with the so called The Machine all of a sudden end up in the outskirts of the city and then get lost in the woods. Simple outline just write a raunchy creative story. And I'm sorry but the whole Ruth breaking up with Davin and then getting with his best friend just seems shady on her part for not telling Fionan about it. Just makes me wonder if she can be all that faithful to Fionan after their marriage. If it was some random guy then whatever but it was the guy's best friend. Have some decency.

Well that's pretty much it, as I said before the message is a great one and that's the only reason I'm giving it a 5 out 10. Without it it would just be a really stale more dramatic than comedic story about a enlightening journey through the woods.
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Bachelor Weekend
kosmasp3 April 2015
Another title for this movie that is, which kind of describes what this is about. But some things cannot be put into words. And like with Hangover you do get the one character who is very much out of place. But without that character the movie would've (probably) been boring, so while you might not want to see him at first, you do realize, that he's necessary.

There are some really bad moments in this, but there are also some very funny ones. While you can see that this is going somewhere (no pun intended), it also stops from time to time (especially that one scene which puts this to a full stop - crucial scene, but there had to had been a better way to handle that). Other than that, pretty solid and decent effort. More drama than comedy though (unlike Hangover in case you started to compare those two)
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manitobaman8122 August 2014
My girlfriends and I were so excited to see this movie, thinking it was going to be a fun movie. Characters start to make bad decisions and one thing leads to another and so on. You get the idea. The Stag will either surprise or disappoint you, depending on what your expectations are. Still, it's a film BOTH genders can enjoy, and it shouldn't be limited to "a movie for the ladies." In the end, what the audience gets is a casserole of movie elements and little of the satisfaction that comes from watching these types of movies. The sound editing was weird to me. The main plot of the film was constantly being interrupted. Don't make a mistake of watching this film if you have any self respect.
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The Bachelor Weekend
Prismark1014 December 2018
The Stag is a low key Irish comedy about 5 middle class men going on a stag do for Fionnan who is getting married. It really is a glorified hiking weekend as Fionnan was not too keen on having a stag party.

Things turn sour for them when Fionnan's boorish and boisterous brother in law to be gatecrashes them. Known as The Machine, he ends up burning the tents, dives nude into the river, even ends up electrocuting himself while trying to jump over an electric fence.

It leads to some stark truths that Fionnan's best man Davin was once in love with the woman he plans to marry. The five men also lose their inhibitions and their clothes.

Despite the title it is not very raucous although there is some male nudity. It is also not very funny but it does try to show a new, more modern Republic of Ireland which is represented by the depiction of Fionnan's two gay friends.
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