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IN SHORT: Guard your nuts, boys, winter ain't over. [Rated R for strong sexual content, including dialog and language. 95 minutes]
It may be, in the years to come, that April 6, 2001 will be marked as the date when every possible joke involving bodily functions or activity below the waist had finally been envisioned. As Cranky sat in a the midst of a preview audience of writer/director Gregory Poirier's Tomcats, this is what he heard from the folk around him: "This is stupid. That's gross! That's disgusting! That's icky..."and so forth. Yeah, "Icky". At the same time we also noted that everyone was, for the most part, laughing. While Tomcats doesn't go for the full gross out of a Farrelly Bros flick, it does get gross enough that grown men (that would be Cranky and every critic in his line of sight) folded up in their seats protecting their private parts from onscreen action that includes treating a cancerous testicle as a soccer ball. Sometimes we wish, when sitting through these things, that we'd never been born. Then again, we were also expecting some heavy duty flesh action from a bevy of Playboy worthy actresses like the knockout blonde that parades across the teevee commercial. Sorry, boys, Tomcats is more Victoria's Secret than Playboy. The blonde keeps everything on and is gone from site after the first ten minutes of the film.
We'll be honest about all this. If you're of the mind to get ripped and settle down for the blast, Tomcats will deliver the goods. It doesn't take much of a story to kick off a whole melange of base humor and visual gags. Once upon a time there were a bunch of guys, nicknamed Tomcats for their devil may care, nail-any-woman-that-moves ways. Once the first of the bunch married off, the remaining members of the group tossed a couple of hundred bucks each into a high yield mutual fund, the intent being that the last of the group to marry would win the pot. Considering that most of the femme universe of this movie is comprised of women fit for the pages of Playboy, why would any of these guys want to settle down?
Seven years later, only Michael Delaney (Jerry O'Connell) and Kyle Brenner (Jake Busey) are left after the Vegas marriage of Steve (Horatio Sanz) to the lovely Tricia (Jaime Pressly). After the gala event, Michael went nuts in the casino, racking up a 50K debt at the craps table. Given a month to pay up by the evil casino guy Carlos (Bill Maher) the out of work cartoonist has only one option. He's got to get his pal to walk down the aisle and he's got less than a month to do it. To pull it off, Michael has to enlist the help of Natalie Parker (Shannon Elizabeth), the only woman Kyle said could win his heart. She wants 50% of the take and it's off to the races.
The take, after seven years of careful investing, is close to half a million dollars. It doesn't take much brain matter to figure out that Michael will fall for Natalie and have second thoughts about the deal, even facing the more than likely possibility that Carlos will have him killed for nonpayment. It's nice to know that there is still a moral center at the middle of this morass.
Unlike the classic fratboy humor of Animal House and Porky's, Tomcats is not a revenge against the upper classes (sic) flick. Nope. It's a humiliate-the-star-in-whatever-way-you-can-conceive, as-long-as-it-involves-something-to-do-with-sex-in-any-possible-manner movie. Welcome to the liberated oh-oh's, folks, there's nothing off limits in Tomcats. It's crude and rude and repulsive and disgusting in a "you have no choice but to laugh" kind of way.
We'll say it again. You have no choice. Sometimes the stuff you see on screen is so shocking and unexpected that, um, you have no choice.
We admit it. We laughed. Now we're gonna hide under the covers and mourn the death of civilization.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Tomcats, he would have paid . . .
That's dateflick level for those of you just in or post fratboy years, if you're prepared for it. Tomcats works if you are. It's garbage if you're not. And there's nowhere near the amount of nudity you expect to see, given the rating and the salacious promises of the teevee ads. you are warned.
<sigh> sometimes we hate this rating system.
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