The one statement used in defining a film that drives fear and loathing into my heart is invariably ‘an outlandish comedy.’ They try in vain to recycle the originality of American Pie, Porky’s, Road Trip, or South Park, attempting to meld a T&A gross-out contest with a love story, and they always fail miserably.
Tomcats wins, hands-down, the lowest common denominator award so far this year. It’s a trashy, sexist, crude comedy revolving around the values of commitment, honesty, and screwing your friends over for half a million dollars. In the process, it throws us numerous sex partners, Bill Maher playing a thug named Carlos, true love, and an escaping testicle.
Here’s the plot. A group of seven buddies individually throw together $1,000 in a betting pool and the last man unwed gets the prize money. Jerry O’Connell, who will forever be the fat kid from Stand by Me, plays a two-dimensional struggling cartoonist named Michael, who ends up losing $51,000 in Vegas shooting craps. Unable to pay the debt, a quasi-take-no-shit mob boss named Carlos (Bill Maher) gives him 30 days to come up with the money or else forfeit his life. Michael concocts a scheme to win the pot, which has grown to $500,000 through mutual fund investing, by getting his buddy Kyle (Jake Busey, the man with the largest incisors in the world) married. Michael finds Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth), an old flame of Kyle’s, and convinces her to marry him whereupon they’ll split the money.
A few questions raced through my mind during the screening. Could Shasta McNasty be creditable as a romantic lead? How could Bill Maher play a thug named Carlos? Could that foreign-exchange chick from American Pie actually act her way through a movie with all of her clothes on? How could the screenwriter of Rosewood write and direct ‘an outlandish comedy’? How many chicks in skimpy outfits would there ultimately be?
Tomcats is as a light as the edited-for-TV version of Animal House. The acting is sub-par, the comedy is nonexistent, the thought of a man chasing a severed testicle through a hospital is pitiful, and a fat man falling down in every scene is only funny if it’s Chris Farley. Which it isn’t. The parody corniness also has to stop. I never imagined that John Woo’s trademark use of birds, or rose petals falling onto a semi-naked girl would become instant clichés through overuse. With Tomcats, these routines get groans from the audience.
If bad acting, hot chicks in skimpy outfits, a script devoid of humor, champagne laced with a Viagra-like substance, lesbian threesomes, and Jerry O’Connell being whipped by an S&M grandmother are your idea of a hot date, Tomcats is the movie for you. If not, save your eight bucks and spend it at your local strip club.