The tradition to end all traditions.
Facts of the Case
Remember when Tom Hanks used to do comedies? I'm not talking about the funny sentimentality of Forrest Gump or the romantic cuteness of Sleepless in Seattle. No, I'm looking back on a time when Tom Hanks was a word that meant "laughter" to the highest degree. This is when films like The 'Burbs, The Money Pit, and Dragnet were nothing but out and out comedies, films that were made with one purpose in mind: to make the audience howl. Then came Philadelphia, and since then it's all been down hill. Oh well, at least we still have memories like Bachelor Party to look back on. Fox pulls out all the stops for a big time bonanza of a DVD with Bachelor Party! Let the games begin!
Sound the trumpets and shake the rooster, Rick Gassko (Hanks) is getting hitched. Rick's one lucky guy, as he's marrying Debbie (Tawny Kitaen, of MTV hair band video fame), a hot-as-a-tamale rich girl who's got the goods (literally) to be Ms. Right. Rick is a bus driver who specializes in acting goofy, joking around with nuns, and playing with his best buddies.
Speaking of best buds, Rick's friends decided that he's in need of the tradition that bonds all men…yes, I speak of the one, the only…the BACHELOR PARTY! It's time for Rick and company to get down and dirty with hookers, beer, and some good old rock 'n roll! Tonight they're going to party like it's…well, like it's 1985. Headed by Rick's best friend Jay (who else but the charismatically talented Adrian Zmed), the party is going to be one heckuva blast…until Debbie catches wind of the whole deal. Debbie makes Rick promise her that there'll be no other women at the party. Rick reluctantly agrees.
The party starts off fine until it hits a few snags, namely Debbie's ex-boyfriend Cole Whittier (Robert Prescott), whom Debbie's father (George Grizzard) has sent to break the happy couple up (he thinks Rick is a no-talent dink). Cole tries valiantly to buy back Debbie's affections by offering Rick money, cars, and household appliances. Rick, however, is not buying. Soon Cole is on the hunt, and the bachelor party is on the rise (in people, that is).
Cole is determined to get Debbie back. Rick is determined to marry her. Rick's buds are determined to drink a lot of beer and get laid. The determining factor for all three scenarios?
The Bachelor Party!
I'd never seen Bachelor Party up until my viewing for this review. I'm sure that if my manly man of a brother-in-law were here, he'd smack me on the head with a wet leather strap. In his opinion, this is one of the funniest movies every made. Bachelor Party is the type of film that includes hitting on nuns, penises in hot dog buns, a stereotypical Hollywood Indian playing a pimp, and a lot of boobs. By the end I was waiting to see if the kitchen sink would be making its grand entrance.
Bachelor Party does have some very amusing spots. There is a scene where a large mammal eats, snorts, and downs a gaggle of drugs that would kill a humpback. I don't think that you've really lived until you've seen a dead mule, feet up, laying in a posh hotel elevator. I'll admit, that was funny. The script in littered with these types of scenes, some of them funny, some of them falling as flat as that animal on the elevator.
Hanks displays his comedic side, which has been dormant these past six or seven years, give or take a romantic comedy. Hanks was always great at playing an everyday schmoe, a guy that we could all relate to. His portrayal of Rick is not so much acting as it seems to be Hanks just playing himself with a different name. Many of his characters from this time period were all alike, and Tom, that's not a complaint. He was very funny in his hey-day, and maybe someday we'll see him do another wacky film like Bachelor Party (one would hope with a better script).
Rick's friends are the most obnoxious bunch of guys you're likely to come across (including Zmed and, for no explainable reason, Michael Dudikoff of American Ninja fame). Sure, if you're in the mood for a four-star party with all the stops out, by far these are the guys to have. But if this same group of boneheads ever showed their face in the light of day, I'd hide in my sock drawer for fear that people would think I knew them. Each character is generally interchangeable (much like the socks in my sock drawer), one after the other possessing only one desire: to PARTY!
Tawny Kitaen is easily the best thing about this film. If you've not been introduced to the wonderful world of Ms. Kitaen, let me be the first to say that she is the rock groupie. Tawny showed up in many rock videos in the late '80s, by groups such as Warrant, Trixter, and other such named bands. Kitaen looks as if she knows each of the band members personally…or should I say each of the band members "personals." Either way, she's some nice eye-candy to look at as she slinks on screen, acting like the hubba-hubba heartbreaker that she is.
Bachelor Party is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. For a film that was shot on such a shoestring budget, Bachelor Party looks very good. There were small amounts of grain and dirt present, and a tad bit of edge enhancement. Colors were solid (if slightly muted due to age), and blacks solid. Overall the film looked excellent and should please all you "party" animals out there.
Audio includes both the original Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix (English and French), as well as a new 4.0 remix by Fox. For the 4.0 mix, there wasn't much engagement of surround sound, though the mix itself sounded clearer and much more crisp. The 2.0 mix sounded much more distorted and was hard on my poor ears. There was a bit of hiss on both tracks, though nothing very major. There were spots where dialogue tended to sound a bit weak, and at one point there seemed to be a dip in the track. Though there are flaws, for a film this old the both tracks are up to muster for what you'll need.
Bachelor Party includes an anamorphic theatrical trailer in mono, as well as a few cast and crew interviews that are broken up into small chunks that you can access on the "special features" page. The interviews are fun enough, though nothing very exciting. Hanks, Kitaen, and other members of the cast and crew discuss their views on the film, characters, blah blah, blah. Nothing you've never seen before, but something extra nonetheless.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Note to my brother-in-law:
For a good price, Bachelor Party may be something for you to pick up and have in your collection for when the "boys" come to play. The transfer is decent, the audio mix decent, the extras decent…did I mention this disc is decent? Certainly not the funniest film from the decedent '80s, though for a mindless night of fun, you could do worse.
Free to go and party its buns off. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
• Theatrical Trailer
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