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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Tomcats (2001)

Michael: "Dude, we just ran over your girlfriend."
Kyle: "Man, don't EVER say that word!"

- Michael (Jerry O'Connell) Kyle (Jake Busey)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 13, 2001

Stars: Jerry O'Connell, Shannon Elizabeth, Jake Busey
Other Stars: Jaime Pressly, Horatio Sanz, Bill Maher
Director: Gregory Poirier

MPAA Rating: R for For strong sexual content including dialogue, and for language
Run Time: 01h:34m:33s
Release Date: August 14, 2001
UPC: 043396061477
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C CB-C+ D+

DVD Review

Thanks to the success of the Farrelly brothers (There's Something About Mary, Kingpin), the measuring bar for gross-out humor has been lowered, and has paved the way for countless imitators. While the Farrellys actually make the lowbrow humor work, with much credit to great casting, the wannabe successors have simply escalated the tackiness in hopes that audiences will find awkward and uncomfortable scenes funny. Tomcats, the debut writer/director effort by Gregory Poirier thunders down the low road in a desperate attempt to generate laughs.

The basic premise of Tomcats concerns a stereotypical group of buddies (the nice guy, the stud, the fat guy, the gay guy). The group, The Tomcats, are slowly losing members to marriage, and the remaining single guys make a bet to see who can be the last one unmarried. As incentive, a mutual fund is created, and the last single Tomcat will win the money, or the film's tagline so eloquently states: "The Last Man Standing Gets The Kitty." Before long, the only two single Tomcats are nice guy Michael (Jerry O'Connell) and swinging stud Kyle (Jake Busey), and both are hellbent on remaining marriage free. However, when Michael loses $51,000 in a Las Vegas casino, and is threatened with death by casino owner Carlos (Bill Maher in a brief but funny role), the clever Tomcat devises a plan. If he can get a girl to marry Kyle in thirty days, Michael can win the money and pay off his debt to the murderous Carlos. Of course, Michael finds the perfect girl in Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth), who had the misfortune of being a conquest of Kyle's years earlier.

The bulk of Tomcats is simply an excuse for a barrage of jokes and situations that want so desperately to be raucous, but more often than not end up poorly executed and just not really all that funny. I won't be so elitist to deny that I actually laughed out loud a couple of times, I did, but most of the humor in Tomcats, regardless of subject matter, is just kind of flat. A running gag about Steve (Horatio Sanz) trying to catch his sexy wife Tricia (Jaime Pressly) in a lesbian tryst may generate a chuckle or two, but seems only to exist as some much needed plot filler. Without fail, a Farrellys-inspired film must contain the prerequisite male bodily fluid sight gag, only here it is so ridiculous that it doesn't seem believable, let alone funny. This is the type of movie where characters can survive falling off cliffs and being run over by golf carts with the tenacity of a cartoon character.

There's Something About Mary had a great cast (Ben Stiller, Chris Elliott, even Matt Dillon), and they helped make much of that film's humor succeed. Unfortunately, the Tomcats cast doesn't come close to the same kind of comedic timing needed to make Poirier's tacky jokes work. Jerry O'Connell seems likeable enough, but not enough to tackle a strong comic lead and to serve as the film's anchor. Shannon Elizabeth, who seems to be coasting on her memorable nude scenes from American Pie, submits a pathetically weak performance, and seems to have learned her lines only minutes before reciting them. As fair warning to all Shannon fans, she DOES NOT appear nude at any point during Tomcats. Horatio Sanz does the second-rate John Belushi/Chris Farley bit predictably, but seems to be in the film only because there HAS to be a wacky fat guy. Jake Busey manages to make his sleazy character of Kyle work, in part because the character is such a self-centered low-life that he seems to honestly believe all of his misogynistic actions are OK. Busey easily gets the best lines in Tomcats, and delivers them with a dimwitted glee.

Tomcats attempts to out do the Farrellys by including a sequence concerning that favorite comedic topic of testicular cancer. Again, this element serves no purpose in the film other than to allow director Poirier the opportunity to include a wild scene where Michael has to chase a bouncing cancerous testicle through a crowded hospital. David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H) has a cameo as a doctor, and his hilarious explanation of how the surgery will be performed is done well, but all too brief.

Tomcats really, really, really wants to be funny. Sometimes it is. Mostly it's not.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: Tomcats features a decent 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are vibrant, and the abundant flesh tones look great and natural. The transfer suffers a bit when it comes to the black levels, as the shadow depth is a bit flat. Overall, the image transfer remains very sharp and clear. The transfer isn't perfect, but it's not horrible.

A full-frame version is also available, and the choice of aspect ratios are offered as a menu option.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Tomcats isn't an action film with extensive sound effects or a thundering score, and as a result, there really isn't much difference between the 5.1 and 2.0 mixes. Both offer a nice sound field, with minimal, yet effective use of the surround channels. Clear and audible dialogue remains solidy anchored, with sparse spatial imaging.

A two-channel French mix is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Joe Dirt, Jerry Maguire, Saving Silverman, Starship Troopers
Production Notes
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The Tomcats extras are threadbare, unless you are a freak for uninspired trailers. Aside from a widescreen theatrical trailer for Tomcats, there are four other trailers included (Joe Dirt, Jerry Maguire, Saving Silverman, and Starship Troopers).

Standard issue filmographies and production notes for the director and principals does little more than highlight the somewhat checkered pedigree of the film's cast.

The animated menu features the cartoon cat character seen in the film's opening credits, and becomes quickly annoying as a regular menu feature. Adequate chaptering, with 28 stops, rounds out the features.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Despite it's desperate attempts at being unique, Tomcats is destined to be lumped into the ever-growing gelatinous heap of generally unfunny sex-themed comedies. If the horny frat boy humor of American Pie was a belly-busting laugh riot for you, then Tomcats will probably not disappoint. If you are looking for a funny Farrellys clone, look elsewhere.

 


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