We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Step aside, Farrelly brothers: The makers of Tomcats have surpassed you in the gross-out-joke department. The arm up the cow’s ass in Say It Isn’t So is a noble attempt, and the cum-in-the-hair joke in There’s Something About Mary will live in infamy, but this latest version of the bachelors-finding-love plot delivers the gaggiest gags of them all. That’s unfortunately the only boast that Tomcats can make, and let it be another lesson to the filmmakers of the world that cringe-worthy doesn’t equal funny. Tomcats starts out just as every fratboy who’ll buy a ticket probably hoped it would: with a parade of flesh and some Penthouse Forum-style situations—in other words, the kind of movie that any 14-year-old boy with a Hollywood budget would set out to make. (Some of the film is kept realistic, though: These fellas who’ve dubbed themselves “tomcats” range from puffy and average to I-wanna-punch-him-in-the-face slimy and undesirable. Come on, guys, how about a little something for the ladies?) The film centers on a group of friends who, despite their enthusiasm for their roamin’ ways, are painfully losing one comrade after another to marriage. The remaining singles decide to pool some money and reward the last bachelor standing. About the time that the field has been narrowed to two, Michael (Jerry O’Connell) loses a serious amount of cash at a casino and conspires to get dirtbag Kyle (Jake Busey) married off so he can collect the money and pay off his debt. When Kyle uncharacteristically mentions a one-night stand that he had with a woman (Shannon Elizabeth) he thinks could have been “the one,” Michael sets out to find her and offers her half the pot if she entices Kyle to the altar. Michael, of course, falls in love with her—sorry, guys, a plot had to be thrown in somewhere—but to keep things juvenile, the zaniness of the sight gags increases proportionally to the seriousness of the luv talk. The puzzling thing is that the more jokes that are thrown in, the less funny Tomcats gets: Bawdy is eventually replaced by flat-out gross, and the film—not to mention the audience—never recovers. —Tricia Olszewski