Newest Review: ... Big which was very funny. Tom Hanks who was the star of Big also stars in this comedy film, he plays Alan Bauer who is a businessman runn... more
Something fishy going on here........
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Enjoyable romcom
Disadvantages: Nothing special
The 1980s were full of clever and feel good films, and they're the sort of films that you can spot a mile off. Splash came out in 1984, and starred Tom Hanks, a man who made his name in the decade and who has continued to enhance it in the 90s and 00s, both in front of and behind the camera. Here, he plays the more down to earth and business minded of two brothers (the other being John Candy) who run an imported food company.
We first meet Hanks' character, Allen Bauer, as a boy aboard a boat. He jumps in the water, much to the horror of the rest of the passengers, but underwater he comes across a strange girl, who drags him back up to the surface. Years later, the Bauer brothers, Allen and Freddie (Candy) are operating their fresh produce business from the docks where they get imported to, when Allen happens across a woman, Madison (Daryl Hannah) who seems rather strange. They fall in love, but there's something different about her.
Of course, we know right from the start that something is up, as we have seen her in the water. She's a mermaid, and needs to keep her legs dry in order for them to stay as real legs. The moment they get wet, they become the tail and lower body of a big fish, and she takes on her mermaid form. However, a power hungry scientist (Eugene Levy) is determined to prove she's a mermaid, despite everyone else thinking he's mad for the suggestion, and he quickly becomes the villain of the film. These main cast members do a good job of keeping the plot of this film ticking over. Hanks and Candy work together quite well, and Hannah doesn't really need to do a great deal of acting. Levy is exuberant as the scientist determined to expose Madison for who she is.
A lot of the focus of the film at the time was Hannah's 'costume'. She spends a decent part of the film in mermaid form, which basically entails the lower half of a fish and a completely bare top half. Her long blonde hair covers up her breasts for the most part, with the occasional underwater glimpse which means the film carries with it a nudity rating of PG. While there are only glimpses, it's still there, and I'm regularly surprised to see it shown during the daytime on TV, often unedited and rather revealing at times. The focus was very much on comparing her to Bo Derek's performance in '10', with the whole blonde bombshell tag being applied to her. I wouldn't say her acting is particularly special, as all she needs to do is act confused at life on land, and remain pretty throughout the film, which she manages to do.
The comedy elements in the film are welcome, as they're not over the top. Candy displays his comic timing to be top class once more, while Tom Hanks manages to include this in his run of films that contain enough comedy to make you smile loads without any outbursts of laughter. This is a good thing, and director Ron Howard makes sure that the film keeps ticking, never resting too long on one scene, the only ponderous artistic elements being any underwater moments. These moments sort of portray life underwater as being relaxing and very casual, not a worry to bother about, while life on dry land is often frantic and dangerous. It's a nice contrast. As a romantic comedy, it serves up both elements in very safe style, the romance quite straightforward (apart from the whole 'flipper' thing) and the comedy gentle and regular.
So, overall, Splash is a decent and enjoyable film. I wouldn't say it pokes its head up above the general range of 80s films that are still instantly recognisable in terms of era, but it's enjoyable from start to finish. The direction is good, the acting is decent and the plot enjoyable. Nothing special, but well worth a watch if you spot it's being shown. Recommended.
Summary: 80s romcom about a man who falls in love with a mermaid