Rated R - Running Time: 1:35 - Released 3/30/01

If your idea of quality entertainment is a line of groomsmen at a wedding all sporting massive fake erections under their tuxedoes, or a surgically-removed testicle bouncing down the hospital stairs like a Superball, or a roomful of scantily clad, giggling, twentysomething females lining up to have sex with the same guy, Tomcats is your kind of movie. Written and directed by Gregory Poirier, one of the 8-man writing team for See Spot Run (which should be enough said), the film reaches astounding new lows in boys-will-be-boys humor, not to mention pushing the envelope of gross-out gags. In his first turn as director, Poirer attempts to cash in on the tasteless comedy phase, but the only laughs derived from this sophomoric, misogynistic piece of trash are laughs of incredulity at how stupid it is. It's like a 1½-hour David Lee Roth video. What is most astonishing to me is that any woman, any woman, would sign on to this type of tittie flick. But as I have learned many times before, one should never underestimate the power of the paycheck.

The film begins with a flashback to seven years ago, during the wedding of one of the "Tomcats," a group of testosterone-overdosed bachelors from Las Vegas who pride themselves on how many women they can bed while avoiding serious commitment. Led by Michael (Jerry O'Connell), Kyle (Jake Busey), and Steve (Saturday Night Live's Horatio Sanz), the remaining members make a pact: they will all begin contributing to an investment fund, and the one who is last to marry gets the money. After several of the guys cave in and tie the knot, only Michael and Kyle remain. But when Michael gets in trouble with a casino (he loses $51,000 playing craps), the owner (Bill Maher, TV's Politically Incorrect) tells him he has 4 weeks to pay off the debt, or else. Knowing that the Tomcat fund is up to almost half a million dollars, he decides to reunite Kyle with an ex-girlfriend named Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth, American Pie), hoping that Kyle will pop the question and lose the prize. The trouble comes when Michael himself starts falling for Natalie, and she seems to return the affection.

This movie has all the intelligence of a panty raid. With brain-dead characters and trite, Three's Company-style situations, it barely registers a chuckle even at the most outrageous scenes. Moreover, although the premise (and the trailer) is overtly suggestive, there is very little bare flesh, and no sex, so the film must rely on foul language and gross comedy to achieve its R rating. Not to suggest that a film like this would be better if there were more nudity; rather that, lacking any adult situations, the language has to be really bad to get an R. And it is.

With Tomcats, Poirier deftly pulls the rug out from under several decades of progress in the arena of mutual respect between the sexes. It disses women with broad strokes (pun intended), and implies that men prefer bouncing boobs and French-cut panties to any sort of intelligent dialogue. While O'Connell almost seems embarrassed (as well he should be) to be saying these lines, Busey revels in it. An actor can't help but be proud when his most memorable line in a film is "Get my nut."

One thing this film does, or attempts to do, that approaches cleverness, is to reference some recent big name films (Mission: Impossible 2, American Beauty), but this represents merely a splash of creativity in a vast bucket of sleaze. This is a movie teenage boys will watch together on late night TV, hoping and praying in their sexual inexperience that someday they will be able to have women like that. They'll eventually discover they have to pay for women like that. But no one should ever have to pay to see this movie. *

Copyright 2001 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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