Februrary 1, 2013

Bachelor Party (1984)
Starring Tom Hanks, Adrian Zmed, and Tawny Kitaen

"Gentlemen, start your boners."

Comments:   Before I say anything about one of my favorite guilty pleasure comedies of the 80's, Bachelor Party, let me first post this quote from a user review at the IMDB.  Because this sums up my thoughts about this movie pretty much perfectly:

"One of the things I enjoy about this movie is the mere fact that it exists."

If you aren't familiar with Bachelor Party, this is THE TOM HANKS MOVIE that Tom Hanks would probably prefer that you weren't familiar with.  And I think that is a shame.  Because not only do I think this is a really funny movie, I also think it is the best performance of Tom Hanks back when he was a budding young comedy star.  Yes, years before he was the greatest living actor of our generation, years before he was an Academy Award winner and a national treasure, Tom Hanks was just some smart aleck kid who was trying to break into movies.  And at no point in his career was he funnier or more charming than he was in Bachelor Party.

Pardieu, the holy man

There isn't much of a plot to write about when it comes to Bachelor Party.  Rick Gassko (Tom Hanks) is getting married to his girlfriend Debbie (Tawny Kitaen), and Rick's friends decide at the last minute that they are going to throw him a bachelor party.  They are going to throw him the mother of all bachelor parties.  Complete with guns, and hookers, and booze, and drugs, and fire trucks.  You name it.  Again, this really isn't the type of movie where you care about the storyline.  This is the type of movie where you only care about three things.  All you really care about is A) is the movie funny, B) how crazy does the movie get, and C) are the actors funny.

Rick and Debbie, the loving couple

Okay A) is Bachelor Party funny?

I happen to love Bachelor Party.  It's not my all time favorite comedy, and I certainly wouldn't put it in my top ten or my top twenty or anything.  But if you are looking for a fun harmless movie from the 80's that is memorable and quotable and will probably make you laugh, well you could do a lot worse.  I remember in high school my friend Mark and I used to quote this movie endlessly.  Especially the first half of the movie, where Tom Hanks is just ad libbing the entire thing and he is throwing out smart ass one liners and quotes left and right.  

The first half of Bachelor Party is easily one of the more quotable comedies of the 80's.  And I don't think it has ever really gotten enough credit for that.  Most people just remember it for the sex and the drugs and the boobs, but man there were some funny quotes in this movie.  I mean, I could see my friend Mark tomorrow (we haven't seen each other in over twenty years) and I know I could still make him laugh just by quoting the elevator scene from Bachelor Party:

Hotel Manager [angrily]: Just where do you think you are?
Jay O'Neill: The Library of Congress?
Rudy: Detroit?
Brad: Beyonnnnnd the sunnnnnn?


Cole Whittier:  Rick, I want Debbie. You dump her and I'll give you cash.
Rick Gassko:  Well I don't know. What's Debbie's blue book value?

Now obviously this isn't the type of movie I would recommend to everyone.  I mean, let's face it, it is a sex comedy.  It is an early 80's sex comedy.  It is one step away from being soft corn porn.  Hell, at one point in the movie a sex show donkey overdoses on coke and they leave its corpse in an elevator.  So yeah, if that is the type of movie you don't enjoy, you probably won't get a whole lot out of Bachelor Party.  There is a reason they didn't include this movie during the montage of "Tom Hanks' Greatest Films" at the Academy Awards.  Yeah, they didn't show the scene with Nick The Dick in between Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan.  

Nick.  The Dick.

And that leads us into criteria number two.  B) How crazy does this movie get?

Um, it gets pretty crazy.  We will just leave it at that.  

And then we come to criteria number three.  The one that I think is the most important.  C) Are the actors in Bachelor Party funny?

Like I said before, hands down this is my favorite Tom Hanks comedy.  Actually, no, let me rephrase that.  I like a lot of the early Tom Hanks comedies, but this is the one where I think he was the funniest.   In fact he is so funny in Bachelor Party that he pretty much steals the show.  If you ever wanted to see what Tom Hanks' career would have been like if he had chosen to be Bill Murray instead of morphing into "Tom Hanks", this is the movie you should use as your evidence. In fact that is exactly what my wife said when we just rewatched it again last week.  

We were watching Tom Hanks ad lib all his lines in Bachelor Party, and just throw out quotes and one liners left and right, and my wife said "You know what?  Bill Murray could have been in this movie and it would have been exactly the same."

And she is right.  There is a reason that Tom Hanks was the best SNL host for most of the 80's.  It was because back then he was one of the funniest guys in Hollywood.  

So there you go.  Bachelor Party.  Featuring the incomparable Tom Hanks.  In what I consider his funniest performance.

Some might call it a fluff movie.  Some might call it a stupid movie.  Some might call it a brainless sex comedy.  But I don't care.  All I know is that it makes me laugh, and it stars Tom Hanks.  And that in itself makes it a must see.  Honestly, I really can't repeat this enough.  Anyone who has never seen Tom Hanks in a comedy before should really see this one.  He didn't do many great comedies (and I know it is a stretch even calling this one a great comedy), but if you want to see a young smart ass Bill Murray Tom Hanks at his funniest, well this was his masterpiece.

Oh yes, and coke snorting donkeys

P.S  The tennis scene in Bachelor Party always kills me.  That is EXACTLY what used to happen on my grandpa's tennis court when I was a little kid.  I used to smash the ball over the fence all the time and it used to drive him crazy.

[Grandpa serves the ball to 10 year old Mario]
[Mario winds up and blasts the ball as hard as he can.  It flies up and over the tennis court fence.]
[Mario drops the racket and raises his hands in the air like he just hit a home run.]


Oh yeah, one last thing.  I need to add that Bachelor Party is one of two significant movies featuring one of my favorite B movie actresses of all time, Monique Gabrielle.  Her role in Bachelor Party is, uh, topless and it is, uh, pretty memorable.  But her other big movie (the really big one) is the one that I will talk about tomorrow.  That one is her best.

Monique has some suggestions on what you should do to her

* My favorite IMDB user reviews about Bachelor Party:

A great comedy that deserves more credit, 31 March 2004
Tom Hanks' career began in comedy, and this film is a shining example of his comedic talents. Hanks delivers a satisfying and enjoyable performance as groom-to-be Rick Gassko, and his supporting cast couldn't have been better selected. Many of the film's co-stars had worked with Hanks in the past, most notably on TV's Bosom Buddies. The chemistry is apparent here, as the actors are all very comfortable in their roles, as the dialogue is executed with a smooth, yet expedient wit. The jokes all work in this film - outlandish as some of them may be. There is never a dull moment in Bachelor Party, as each scene is well-constructed to deliver an inevitable laugh, without the premeditated one-liners that seem so forced in today's trash comedies. The events of the film were based on Producer Bob Israel's real life bachelor party experience, and the realism of the story can be felt in the film, as the viewer rarely has to suspend disbelief. This movie can best be appreciated by the movie fan who enjoys witty, smirk-inducing comedies such as Porky's, Animal House, Police Academy, Summer School, and Weekend At Bernie's.

Classic sophomoric romp, 25 October 2001
One of the things I enjoy about this movie is the mere fact that it exists. I'm thinking Tom Hanks scratched this one of his resumé long ago, along with "Dragnet" and "Volunteers." I delight in the notion that some folks who love Hanks from films like "Saving Private Ryan" and "You've Got Mail" might stumble onto this puppy and give it a shot based on more recent work. Boy are they in for a shock.

Even this early, in 1984, it's obvious Hanks had the capability of spinning gold from pewter. Because the script is nothing more than an endless series of low-brow gags and d*ck jokes. But in Hanks' hands, it all comes out much better than you'd think.

I think the second-most famous person in this film is either Tawny Kitaen or Adrian Zmed, so what does THAT tell you? (By the way, think they get Christmas cards from Hanks?) But the odd assembly of buffoons and horndogs here team up to do some surprisingly funny work.

Sometimes I'll take one scene and let it sum up a movie's entire mindset. I can definitely do that for this flick: In the middle of a donkey show at the bachelor party, the donkey wanders off, snorts a lot of coke, munches a bunch of pills and drops dead of a massive coronary on the spot.

So ask yourself this: Am I the type of person who thinks a sex-show donkey OD'ing on blow and pills is funny? If no, steer clear. If yes, you may proceed.

This tale of a soon-to-be-married guy and the Sodom and Gomorrah-style bachelor party that his friends throw for him is like a crazy, filthy live-action cartoon. No joke is too broad or silly, and pretty damned funny to boot! In a film loaded with classic "guy moments," my favorite segment has to be Tom Hanks' extremely displeased soon-to-be father-in-law sitting him down for a serious man-to-man talk:

SOON-TO-BE FATHER-IN-LAW (attempting absolute earnestness): Rick, I think you're an asshole. And I'm afraid that my grandchildren are going to be little assholes.

Any guy who has ever had to face a father who knows that you're nailing his daughter (and would rather see her with a farm animal than you) can relate to that bit.

The plethora of bad taste gags are a riot, and even my mother lost it at the sight of Nick the Dick. Throw tastefulness to the wind and rent the last good film that Tom Hanks made before becoming an "actor."

So funny, one of my new favorite comedies! - 16 May 2008
I have heard of Bachelor Party a couple times, once on VH1's I love the 80's and also in Clerks 2 there was a small reference. The weird thing is, I'm more used to a dramatic Tom Hanks, other than Big and A League of Their Own, I've never seen him in a raw comedy movie, so it was a little weird to think of Tom Hanks as this very funny male lead in a movie. But I decided to go ahead and give the movie a look, I have to tell you, I haven't laughed so hard and so out loud in a movie like this in a long time. Then I check out the rating on IMDb, 5.7?! Are you kidding me?! This movie is just so beyond funny, I know that it is cliché'd eighties, but come on! I just couldn't believe that anyone else would not find this to be a funny film. If you're telling me you did not find Brad to be funny, you have got to get your funny bone checked because Bachelor Party is non stop laughs from beginning to end.

Rick is about to get married to beautiful Debbie, his friends who live to party are throwing him the biggest bachelor party they can have. Debbie's rich and snobby family definitely don't want Rick to be apart of their lives, so Debbie's dad will do anything, including her ex-boyfriend, Cole, who wants her back, to split them up. But the bachelor party night has arrived, and things are going more crazy than the boys have expected.

Bachelor Party is seriously funny, it's predictable and silly, especially the end, but it's all in good fun. This is perfect 80's humor, it's the humor I miss and I'm sure others do too, because it's raunchy but doesn't over do it and just has fun with the audience. This cast looked like they had an ultimate blast and Tom Hanks was just brilliant, his character could be a jerk, but such a great guy at the same time, so he's real and likable. This is just a funny movie that I would recommend, it's a lot of fun and the rating on IMDb is just too harsh. Come on, let's get this rating up.

The Greatest Party Movie Ever!!, 2 June 2000
Anyone who critiques this movie on its acting, story, or redeeming values, well then forget it! They just don't get it! This movie was made for laughs and that's what you get! There are only a hand full of movies you can play at a party where everyone will stop what they are doing and watch, some are (and take note, these movies must be seen unedited!) "Animal House" "Blazing Saddles" and "Airplane"

But the greatest one of all is "Bachelor Party" I know I have thrown a few parties where everyone is dancing, partying, but you put this movie on and slowly a crowd forms in front of the TV and people start laughing and have a great time. I heard once a few years ago that Tom Hanks said in an interview that this was his favorite movie to make because he had so much fun making it, well it shows!

I do have to say that if you have only seen this movie edited on TV and not on video, you are missing out! This is one of those movies that must be seen unedited!

Holds Up All These Years Later, 31 May 2010
I first saw this movie as a kid, and being a juvenile at the time, I of course loved the juvenile humor (not to mention the nudity). But humor is one of those things that rarely ages well, and I fully expected all these years later to find that the movie was rather, well, juvenile. Very pleasantly surprised to find that it really was still funny, even if Hanks himself is so over the top that it makes the central storyline (Tawny Kitaen wants to marry him) unbelievable. Its silly, low brow, and yet exuberant and consistently funny throughout. One of those movies where everybody is having such a good time that its hard not to yourself, and the jokes are fearlessly tasteless. Not a classic, but still fun nearly 30 years later (has it been nearly 30 years? wow!).

married to craziness, 23 November 2006
"Bachelor Party" is a big, stupid, pointless excuse for a movie. And it's proud of being such. That's what makes it so great. One of the many examples of Tom Hanks's career before he started acting in serious movies, it portrays him getting a party thrown by his buddies the day before he gets married. His father-in-law-to-be may try to undermine the wedding, but this guy doesn't know what he's up against! So, while the critic-stapo may say that Tom Hanks is now a serious actor, so these sorts of movies are worthless, I categorically beg to differ. It's just a nice, wacky, not-for-children excuse to have a lot of fun. And when I say not for children, I mean that this movie isn't afraid to do anything that it wants! I assert that it's worth seeing. You're sure to like it.

* My favorite quotes in Bachelor Party:

Mr. Thompson: Rick, let's cut through the B.S.
Rick Gassko: I'd like that.
Mr. Thompson: I think you're an asshole.

Gary: Are you the pimp?
Rajah: Yes.
Gary: You look like Gandhi!
Rajah: I've got girls to sit on your face.

Rick Gassko: It's time for spice, and the lucky spice is... paprika! "Oh thank you, thank you! You've made me the happiest spice in the world!"

Rick Gassko: What the hell are you doing?
Brad: I'm slashing my wrist.
Rick Gassko: With an electric razor?
Brad: Yeah, I couldn't find any razor blades.
Rick Gassko: Well at least your wrist will be smooth and kissable.

Rudy: Let's have a bachelor party with chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze!

[when he sees the endowment on Nick the Dick]
Rick Gassko: Personally, I was impressed when they opened the World Trade Center, but this, this is a piece of work.

Cole Whittier: The car has low mileage and handles like a dream.
Rick Gassko: Well, so does Debbie.

Rick Gassko: [after the guys find out their porno film has been edited] Not that I'm complaining, but I usually don't like my filth this clean.
Rudy: Whatta waste of two women!

Mr. Thompson: Is that the foot-long?
Nick the Dick: And then some.

* My favorite scene in Bachelor Party:

Pretty much any scene with Tom Hanks is great (and I already mentioned the famous tennis scene) but in the end I can't get over the fact that he drives a school bus.  I have always loved that fact about Bachelor Party.  The main character doesn't have a car, he drives a school bus.

Okay, and the Monique Gabrielle scene too.  I'm a guy.  Sue me.

Bachelor Party at the IMDB

Bachelor Party at Wikipedia

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