Before he started chasing Oscars as a dramatic actor, Tom Hanks had a fairly great run making comedies. There was his short-lived television career with Bosom Buddies, which I was too young to appreciate when it was out. Then he made some fairly big successes like Splash, Big, Joe Versus the Volcano, and a big favorite of mine, Punchline. What set his films apart from the others being made contemporarily was his style of physical comedy.
One film Hanks made that I think is really underrated among other trashy comedies is Bachelor Party which came out in 1984. I think I was in 4th grade when I first saw the film, which would put that around 1989. The version I saw was edited and stripped down for network television. The scenarios were still suggestive (how the hell do you truly clean up a film about a bachelor party?!), and I’m not sure even the version I saw was appropriate for a child, and I got myself in a little bit of trouble when my friends’ parents found out I had showed them the VHS.
Anyway, about five years ago, I picked up the DVD of the film and got reacquainted with what I remembered and saw a whole bunch of the film that I had never seen.
It’s such a crazy movie. Not only is Tom Hanks brilliant in it, but the supporting cast form a band of misfits that make for a totally awkward bachelor party story. It starts with the cliché argument between a couple that the bachelor party shouldn’t be wild and goes as far into the realm of insanity that anybody would be comfortable with.
Starting with the wild guy’s declaration of what the bachelor party should be…
…some of the ridiculous things you’ll see are
- Tom Hanks hitting tennis balls out of the park like they’re baseballs.
- a Pakistani Pimp.
- a donkey at a bachelor party (this was 25 years before Clerks II.).
- a fight in a 3D movie theater where a woman gets punched in the face and thinks it’s part of the experience.
- a waiter named “Nick the Dick” in a female revue club.
- this crazy routine Hanks does when posed with a platter of colorful pills; it’s something he recycles in Dragnet.
It’s not as heartfelt as Revenge of the Nerds, and it’s not as quotable and memorable as Animal House, but Bachelor Party is a damn fun film and one that Hanks still stands behind.
Luckily, the evening I called my bachelor party didn’t even skate close to this type of thing.