Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Chicks & Guns & Fire Trucks & Hookers & Drugs & Booze

Tom Hanks, whose energetic and likable comic performances as a regular on BOSOM BUDDIES and a guest star on FAMILY TIES had impressed Hollywood bigwigs, moved to the big screen when SPLASH and this raucous slob comedy were both released in 1984. SPLASH came out first, making it Hanks’ official leading-man debut, but I suspect he filmed BACHELOR PARTY first.

Penned by Neal Israel and Pat Proft, who wrote both POLICE ACADEMY and the similar MOVING VIOLATIONS next (Israel also directed the latter), from a story by Bob Israel (reportedly based on his own pre-wedding bash), BACHELOR PARTY focuses on groom-to-be Rick Gassko (Hanks), as he prepares to marry gorgeous heiress Debbie Thompson (Tawny Kitaen, making her official U.S. film debut; she made THE PERILS OF GWENDOLINE IN THE LAND OF YIK-YAK first, but it didn’t play here until 1985).

Hanks is terrifically winning, and I doubt anyone was surprised he had a big-screen career. He gets more humor out of the screenplay than is actually in it, milking his lines to squeeze as much silliness out of them as possible. It’s hard not to get lost inside a film that features S&M hookers, a coke-snorting donkey, a suicidal partier who tries to slit his wrists with an electric razor, a male stripper named Nick the Dick serving up a peculiar hot dog, a Middle Eastern pimp, and lots of ‘80s white guy dancing.

Hanks gets good support from Adrian Zmed (then on T.J. HOOKER), William Tepper (DRIVE, HE SAID), Michael Dudikoff (AMERICAN NINJA), Gary Grossman, and Barry Diamond as fellow partiers. They bounce off each other well, and help foil the schemes of Debbie’s ex Cole Whittier (Robert Prescott) to embarrass Rick and drive Debbie back to him. Israel and Proft actually co-wrote the direct-to-video sequel BACHELOR PARTY 2 in 2008, which hardly anyone has seen or will see.

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