Bachelor Party review

There is a whole generation of filmgoers who only know Tom Hanks as the - admittedly excellent - dramatic actor that he is. Apart from the rom-com Sleepless in Seattle and his three voice outings as Woody in the Toy Story films, since 1993's Philadelphia Hanks has been mostly rooted in the dramatic world: Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, The Da Vinci Code, Captain Phillips, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Cloud Atlas, Bridge of Spies and The Post, to name a few.

But Hanks's film (and TV) career really began in the world of comedy. It got off to an inauspicious start with the sitcom Bosom Buddies, which ran from 1980 to 1982 and saw Hanks and co-star Peter Scolari pretending to be women to move in to a cheap apartment in a female-only building. But in 1984, along came the comedy that really put Hanks on the map - Splash, co-starring Daryl Hannah, about a man who falls in love with a mermaid.

There was another comedy starring Tom Hanks that was released in 1984, and it was about as far away from Splash as you could get. Where Splash was a sweet, gentle boy-meets-fish-boy-falls-in-love-with-fish rom-com, Bachelor Party was a wild and raunchy affair in the vein of Animal House and Porky's.

The plot is simple: school-bus driver Rick (Hanks) is marrying Debbie (Tawny Kitaen) and his buddies decided to throw him a massive blowout of a bachelor party. Or, as his friend Rudy puts it: "Let's have a bachelor party with chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze!" As it turns out, there are no fire trucks involved but there is a coke-snorting donkey.

The Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party is far from the Hanks we know today. Rick is loud, obnoxious, crude and very working class. It's a role that you could easily see being played by the likes of John Belushi, or Robin Williams, and is far from the calm, mannered Tom Hanks we have come to know and love. Bachelor Party was not the last time Hanks appeared in an out-and-out comedy – after Bachelor Party he did Volunteers, The Money Pit, Dragnet, Big, Punchline, The 'Burbs and Turner & Hooch – but it's certainly his wildest role.

It's certainly not Hanks' best film, or even his best comedy (that honour goes to Big) but it's an interesting diversion and fun to see Tom in a completely different role to what we are used to seeing from him. There are better raunchy 80s comedies out there – Porky's, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Weird Science, Revenge of the Nerds and Animal House, to name just five – but Bachelor Party has more than enough fun moments to make it worth a look. And it will leave you with one overriding question: whatever became of Tawny Kitaen and Adrian Zmed?

EXTRAS: There a short Behind the Scenes featurette (3:10); the short featurette An American Tradition (2:51); the short featurette While the Men Play (1:43) three short Tom Hanks Interviews (2:44) and the original Theatrical Trailer (2:07).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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