Click here for IMDB's info on Tomcats
By Rebecca Sills
Assuming that I was the only one who's seen the Naked Gun trilogy, "American Pie" or any piece of footage from MTV spring break, then the painstakingly predictable film "Tomcats" was original. The parody of recent American hits (ahh yes, the infamous rose petals from American Beauty) was brilliant. The penis meets cuisine jokes were shocking. The fellatio shots, the domination sequences- it was all one big masterpiece. But a problem arises when one realizes that I wasn't the only one to see those films, and therefore this two hour sequence of rehashed jokes is not only unoriginal, but also falls so short in each of the many directions in which it tries to succeed. Perhaps director Gregory Poirier wanted to mix parody with shock value, spring break with the kid from Sliders ,but unfortunately each earnest attempt was met with either pure disaster or yet another joke about the age-old practice of masturbation. The more "Tomcats" tiptoes across the stomping grounds of the Farrelly brothers or Leslie Nielsen, the more one can hear increasing groaning in the distance. And while I'm sure the filmmakers would have you believe it's the sound of Jake Busey climaxing or Shannon Elizabeth rejoicing that she doesn't have to go topless this time around, beware: it's America crying for their $7.50 back.
After Jerry O'Connell's character, Michael Delaney, gets in over his head with a mob boss played by the typically (as in, before this role) wry and intelligent Bill Maher, he is forced to find a way to pay him back off the earnings from his meager starving-bachelor-at night/cartoonist-in-the-day career. But wouldn't you know he and his buddies have been investing hundreds of thousands of dollars for the last guy to get hitched? As in, the last man standing wins. So, clever as he is, Delaney plans to have Shannon Elizabeth's character marry his friend Kyle, played by Jake Busey, so indeed he will be the last bachelor, or tomcat if you will, standing. What ensues is an example of the most obvious, falsely erotic cheap humor that American cinema is offering up these days!
So as not to be too cruel to the film, I must note that whereas I was a previous non-believer, I am now fully converted to the faith of "O'Connellism." While his role is neither charming nor witty, his body does just the trick. So while the director might have done wrong, the casting agent couldn't have done better. This isn't to say that O'Connell's looks are enough to carry the film, but every so often when you think you've had enough there's a well-lit shot of a nicely dressed, bronzed and blue-eyed cartoonist who doesn't have much to say. As my friend whispered to me after once such scene, " I can't believe I am so in love with someone who is superficial enough to star in this film." But then again, we ain't here for the intellectual And don't you worry boys, for every Jerry O'Connell shot this film has to offer, there are two of Jaime Presley and three of sparsely dressed strippers to go- Equal Opportunity Eye Candy.
With the recent onslaught of teen films hopefully coming to a near end (how many more movies can the WB ensemble casts make?), there's still hope for a quality film that incorporates humor with sex, drugs and dare I say some real issues. If our generation isn't so bold as to demand John Hughes films, than perhaps we do not deserve them (that hurts to write). But do we deserve this? Pure and obvious plagiarism for the comedic kind? Grannies in leather ? (stolen directly out of " Don't Be a Menace to South Central."). Gay men in matching clothes? (think: "Big Daddy").Wrongly accused molesters? (were we the only ones to see Ben Stiller in "There's Something About Mary"? I think not.). Flying testicles? (Maybe not done before, but does it need to be done at all?) A clothed Shannon Elizabeth? (There's a reason American Pie made money) A Jerry O'Connell with potential surrounded by the lack thereof? Librarians with fetishes? (Okay, that might work). Saturday Night Live characters who should stay that way? (Sorry, Horatio Sanz) I believe not. No, we most certainly don't. Indeed, as I walked out of the theatre I overhead a fellow moviegoer say, "This movie was nothing without nudity. I'm going to tell all my friends." And while I don't normally agree with fifteen year-old boys with newly grown peach fuzz, never washed WWF t-shirts and barely brushed braces, to him I say: Preach on, brother. We have audiences to save.