The inestimable Joe Roth, a film executive long admired within the industry as a man of taste left the confines
of corporate culture and opened his own production company, Revolution Studios in 2000. Now the first fruits
of his efforts is hitting the multiplexes. While I wish I could say, "sound the trumpets," it's more like "what were
they thinking?"
The debut film of this new production house is a purported romantic comedy about a set of guys who make a
deal that the last one to remain single will get a pot of money. Opening with a flashback to the wedding of the
first of the pack to wed and then moving forward seven years to the present-day, tacky Las Vegas wedding
of Steve (Horatio Sanz) and Tricia (Jaime Pressly), Tomcats clearly is attempting to cash in on the success
of such films as American Pie and There's Something About Mary, but it simply fails miserably.
The set up goes something like this: Michael Delaney (Jerry O'Connell) attends his pal's wedding and then
runs up a huge gambling debt to impress an attractive redhead. The casino owner (an unbilled cameo by a
"politically incorrect" TV host) gives Michael a month to come up with the $51,000 he owes. (There's what is
supposed to be a running gag of two goons who come and essentially strip Michael's apartment bare
collecting collateral for the debt. It may have sounded hilarious on paper; it isn't in execution.) In order to get
the money, Michael has to convince the only other bachelor of the group, the crass but obscenely wealthy
Kyle (Jake Busey) to marry. Suckered in by Kyle's tale about "the one that got away," Michael tracks down
the girl and tries to convince her to marry Kyle. It turns out that the young woman, Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth),
is a cop with a veteran partner (Bernie Casey). Natalie agrees to the plan, but for her own reasons -- mostly
revenge for a lousy one-night stand. The complication is that Michael and Natalie fall for one another but
neither will come out and say how they feel.
Tomcats is directed and written by Gregory Poirier, whose resume includes the underrated Rosewood, the
more convention Gossip and the recent box-office performer See Spot Run. Poirier here sinks to new lows,
though. There isn't a single laugh to be had, unless you think things like men drinking wine spiked with a
Viagra-like pill and sporting erections at a wedding is amusing. Or perhaps you might find the stereotype of
the shy librarian who turns into a leather-clad dominatrix and then is joined by her granny a laugh riot. Or
maybe a raucous fantasy sequence at a sperm bank will tickle your fancy. If not, perhaps the undercurrent of
homophobic jokes (did I mention one of the group of guys is gay? Okay, he does land a life partner, but there
is more than one offensive joke using a derogatory term.) Then there's the running joke about Tricia and her
Sapphic predilections. And don't get me started on the hospital sequence involving a cancerous testicle that
ends up in a cafeteria in the film's grossest sequence.
The actors are forced to endure any number of humiliating sequences, but, ironically, despite the presence of
Playboy centerfolds Shannon Elizabeth and Jaime Pressly, it's Jerry O'Connell who is seen nude (but only
from the rear) and Jake Busey who strips down to a thong. I would venture to guess that agents will be fired
and this film will be omitted from some resumes in the future.
While 2001 is only a few months old, Tomcats has already emerged as the front runner for this year's title of
"worst movie". Heck, next to this, even Battlefield Earth looks like a masterpiece.

MPAA Rating: R (for strong sexual content including dialogue, and for language)
© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.