The last man standing gets the kitty. Ah, the double entendre slogan for 'Tomcats,' which also just so happens to be the only funny thing about the film: a line from the poster. If that sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, please remember, we're talking about 'Tomcats,' after all, an instantly forgettable film that had little going for it when it was first released, and ten years later sure as heck doesn't have a whole lot going for it now. Isn't it spooky, this film is already ten years old, qualifying it for an anniversary edition? I mean, this film is so darned generic, cliche, and outright stupid, I'm amazed that I remembered as much of the film as I did after all these years. On the bright side, though, I didn't forget a single laugh out loud moment... since there isn't one to be found!
'Tomcats' is a raunchy romantic comedy stuck in its era, with little viability these days despite its lack of any outdated technological gimmick or subplot that aged poorly. Here, it's just the entire film aged worse than Nick Nolte. There are no subtleties, no nuances, no developed characters or rationally crafted scenes or series of events. This is a film that doesn't even attempt to be original, is devoid of anything resembling intelligence, and features some of the worst damned performances in a comedy that you may ever see.
In an attempt to simultaneously play on the male bachelor lifestyle and the ever-present fear of commitment, 'Tomcats' bases its entire plot around a pact, of sorts, where a group of friend all pledge a few hundred dollars a year into a high yield mutual fund, the balance of which will go to whoever can go the longest without getting married. Some seven years later, there are only two men remaining, the sleazy jerk Kyle (Jake Busey), and Michael (Jerry O'Connell), a regular guy who has gone out of his way to avoid a serious relationship. When Michael gets in over his head with a gambling debt, he schemes up a plan to get the one girl Kyle ever claims to have cared for to marry him, so he can take the pot and live to tell about it. The only problem is, said girl (Shannon Elizabeth as Natalie) doesn't have the same fond memories Kyle does about their tryst. As Natalie tries to con Kyle, it becomes clear that Michael's the man for her...but who will get the girl, and who will get the money?
Let's cut to the chase and put the blame where it rightfully belongs, beyond the phrase "all involved" for the problems with this flick. The main culprit in concerns to why this film fails on so many levels is writer/director Gregory Poirier, a man responsible for bad film after bad film. Don't believe me? 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets,' 'The Spy Next Door,' and 'A Sound of Thunder' all want to say hi. In fact, 'Tomcats' was such career poison that Poirier has thankfully never been given the reins to direct another film. On top of not knowing good acting if it shoved an Academy Award up his nose, Poirier's film is loaded with distracting editing, a plot that doesn't quite fit its featured gag sequences into the story coherently at all, detouring regularly for no reason whatsoever, and one of the most misogynistic all around tones found in any of the male-only interest comedies from the late '90's to early '00's. It's downright shameful the way most women are portrayed and treated in the film. It's actually more embarrassing than anything, as it shows how this man must think of the fairer sex, as nothing more than targets, for the oh so polite "hit it and quit it" treatment. Throw in actors that have no chemistry with each other or believability in their roles, more odd tangents than a ten minute Woody Allen monologue (and far less effective ones at that!), and the end result is a film that didn't quite deserve to be unearthed.
If you would have told me that the actors made a bet similar to the one in the film, where they'd see how far their careers would fall after starring in this film, I'd have no choice but to believe you. The way that nearly every member of the cast overacts or delivers the driest deliveries ever (with no middle ground), there's no way that this could have been their best effort. It even starts to look like the actors and actresses are trying to one-up their peers, to see who could be the worst actor of them all by the time it's said and done.
O'Connell is disastrous, no other word works. He has the charisma of a box of fish sticks, is routinely distracting with his excessively over-the-top expressions, and can't sell a line of dialogue to save his life. Elizabeth seems to be trying to shed the whole "Nadia" complex here in an adult role that she wasn't quite ready for, and it's apparent: she looks bored, outmatched (scary as that is), and can't sell a single line convincingly. Busey, well, it's Jake freaking Busey for crying out loud, and failing as an actor is par for the course. Horatio Sanz and Jaime Pressly fill out the cast, with awful physical comedy, one note acting, and one of the stupidest sight gags in cinema. See, due to constant fears Pressly's character is cheating on him, Sanz's desperate character constantly sees her imagine through curtains or other obscuring objects, as if she's having a hot and sexy lesbian affair. The problem is, this series of uninspired sight gags look nothing like the sexually suggestive shadows they suggest. Hands and bodies are in the wrong spot, each and every time. It's a good example of this film stretching, reaching way too hard, trying too much to be something it isn't: good.
If you want a comedy where the characters feel real, like you can relate to them in any way, this is not the film for you. There's no reason a film that takes this long to unfold can't properly develop at least one character, so we have someone we feel invested in, but that's the case here. It's just prolonged failed gag after prolonged failed gag, with no coherency, just bad dialogue trying to bridge set piece to set piece. Never mind the implausibility of the entire film, or the rampant predictability of 'Tomcats.' The most damning feature of this film isn't its lack of laughs; rather, the absolutely awful, awful dialogue that is about as nonsensical as any film can get. People don't talk like this, Poirier. They didn't in 2001, and they don't now, not even on the CW. Just stick to watching movies, pal. Stop trying to make them in any way, shape, or form.
The Disc: Vital Stats
Image Entertainment brings 'Tomcats' to Blu-ray through their distribution agreement with Sony, on a Region A locked BD25 disc. There is no audio setup on the menu, just a subtitle tab, no extras, not even a trailer, so no tab there either, and some awful bo-oi-oi-oi-oing sound effects for menu selections.
If frustrating is what you're looking for, come on and buy this Blu-ray! 'Tomcats' is a very unique case on Blu-ray, as it actually can be borderline gorgeous in high def, pristine, colorful, vibrant, deep...then in the next shot it turns to crap. That's the story of this disc, a back and forth between sharp and flat, sharp and flat, it's a crying shame.
When this disc is on the mark, it boasts wonderful black levels, absolutely perfect clarity, great distinction and detail levels, superb facial features, solid depth, stray hair pops, clearly defined hair strands, the works. But when this disc isn't on the mark, crush is a concern, hair becomes blob-ish on top and blurry on faces, arms, or anywhere else, facial features aren't so much smoothed as they are lacking any real clarity whatsoever, and the occasional ring will pop up. The picture is clean with only a few little bits of debris early, untouched grain levels, and a couple of spots of noise, but the shift between abundant and clearly lacking detail levels and sharpness is just too much over the runtime of the film.
A solid step up from DVD, just not consistent enough to "wow" like it could have.
As with the video, the audio for 'Tomcats' is an inconsistent little bugger. With the only audio option being a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (unlike other Sony to Image releases that get stuck with stereo), potential most certainly is there. The soundtrack hits all angles with no problems, the gunfight sequence has superb power and plenty of localized effects, and bass can have a solid thump in that sequence and a number of musical moments, but there's the up and down, good then bad issue again. The opening Offspring song isn't all that clear, range often feels restricted, and there's a couple very odd sounding lines, just questionable dynamics.
I could go on for an hour about how bad the music in the film has aged, but that wouldn't be fair. What is fair is saying that this track sometimes has the goods, and sometimes has absolutely nothing.
There's as many extras for this film as there are laughs in it. None.
If, when the format war ended years ago, you'd told me that we'd have 'Tomcats' on Blu-ray before 'American Pie,' I would have laughed in your face. Now, I don't know whether to cry, or just curse all responsible for this mess. How this third rate comedy deserves a Blu-ray release before countless other films is beyond me. There's no explaining it. It's as if the studio wants to see how much money they can lose by releasing films no store will stock. This disc doesn't exactly demand an online order, either, as it is an inconsistent little mess with no extras to speak of. This lowbrow, low rent, no talent and no brains film deserves the shunning that I'm recommending. There are far less frustrating ways to spend your off time than this.