Bachelor Party (1984)

“I’m not complaining, but I usually don’t like my filth this clean.”

Justin’s Rating: I now pronounce this movie… MOST EXCELLENT!

Justin’s Review: Musicians sell out the moment they abandon all original song writing efforts, don’t play any instruments, and instead choose to dress primarily in “thong” and marinate in pop fluff. Conversely, comedian movie stars sell out the moment they make a decision to stop entertaining the masses with cheap slapstick and start gunning for dramas in a quest to get an Oscar. I don’t look down as hard on actors who make this decision, like Tom Hanks, but it’s kind of sad when you realize from this point onward they don’t want to make you laugh ever again — just cry. Like how your last relationship evolved.

Before switching over to romantic comedies and full-blown drama pieces, Hanks actually had a fun career in the ’80s being a funny guy. Dragnet, Big, Turner and Hooch, Joe vs. The Volcano… these were his bread and butter before Philadelphia got a hold of him and his career grew up. The rest of us were stuck in remedial 5th grade comedy and missing our best bud.

Of course, with movies you can always go back again. And you can’t go much further back than Bachelor Party, which was right at the beginning of Hanks’ screen career, following the equally well-received Splash. It’s essentially the same movie with less scales and gills.

Hanks is Rick, a goofy party-hearty dude who decides to give up his nutty single life for a bond of holy moly matrimony. Before that magical wedding day can happen, however, his friends want to throw him the best bachelor party of all time, his fiancée and their friends try to bust him for being too naughty, and his fiancée’s ex-boyfriend comes moping around trying to get his girl back. Top off this cinematic sundae with a donkey who does drugs, a father-in-law who gets corrupted by unseemly elements, and a Catholic school bus where the kids play craps for cash, and you’ve got yourself a mildly enjoyable time. The music’s loud, the jokes keep popping, and the whole deal only asks for three brain cells, minimum, as an investment.

Standing as the axis between his incredibly wild friends and the more conservative, responsible future with his wife is Rick himself. It’s a balancing act to show a character that can be goofy and a party anima yet isn’t so insensitive or unfaithful as to make us hate him when we see him through his fiancée’s eyes. Probably many guys facing marriage wish they could handle it this diplomatically.

Bachelor Party doesn’t burden its audience with any serious wedding musings — it’s just out to have a good time and make you laugh once in a while. It also lets us see Tom Hanks in full-fledged wisecracking mode, and the quotes he delivers to us on a silver platter are truly a delicacy of the house. Viva la comedy! Viva la Hanks!

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