A scene from 'Tomcats'
Courtesy Photo
no stars 92 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, March 30, 2001
Written & directed by Gregory Poirier

Starring Jerry O'Connell, Shannon Elizabeth, Jake Busey, Horatio Sanz, Jaime Pressly, Bernie Casey, David Ogden Stiers, Travis Fine, Heather Stephens, Julia Schultz

This film is on the Worst of 2001 list.


Don't even waste your time.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 08.14.2001


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Commitment-phobic sexists, bisexual bimbos populate painfully unfunny gross-out comedy 'Tomcats'

By Rob Blackwelder

Until the blooper reel that runs with the closing credits, there's scarcely a sign of wit or talent in the entirety of "Tomcats," another in what seems to be a never-ending sewer-spawn tidal wave of excessively tasteless comedies green-lighted on the coattails of "There's Something About Mary" and "American Pie."

In this one, a group of commitment-phobic buddies invest a pool of bet money that will go to the last bachelor standing. Before the first reel is over, writer-director Gregory Poirier (he wrote the campus killer thriller "Gossip") has made the movie's first big mistake and proven his laziness by skipping over the matrimonial surrender of all but two of the guys.

The plot concerns Michael (Jerry O'Connell) trying to marry off Kyle (Jake Busey) so he can collect the pot to pay off $51,000 he owes to a Vegas casino run by leg-breaking mobsters.

"Tomcats" takes place in a world where all women are half-witted, sexpot, bisexual Barbie blondes with such low standards for a mate that they will happily marry a bloated, brain-dead, beer-swilling imitation-Belushi who makes a living as a proctologist.

As the girl Michael falls in love with while using her to set up Kyle, Shannon Elizabeth (the naked exchange student in "American Pie") is a brunette, and therefore not a bimbo in the movie's mindset. But she doesn't have the talent to make us believe her IQ is bigger than her bra size.

What's worse, the ad campaign for "Tomcats" -- in which a bubbly blonde offers to "show you a couple things" from the movie and starts peeling off her tight little tank top -- is a bait-and-switch that would make a used car salesman cry "foul!" I went into this movie thinking that at worst I was in for a "Porky's"-style lowbrow sex comedy with some gratuitous nudity to distract me from the bad acting and the inane plot. (Yeah, I'm a guy. So sue me.)

Wrong. Just like the laughs, the only skin in the whole picture is during the outtakes.

There are jokes about accidentally eating surgically removed cancerous testicles. There are masturbation scenes, erection site gags and lactating prosthetic breasts. There's a S&M gag in which a mousy librarian and her sweet old granny turn out to be closet dominatrixes. (OK, that one is a little funny.) But there's nary a single shed brassiere.

To top it off, Poirier seems to think that after drawing a Neanderthal audience with the false promise of naked girls, then spending half the movie trying to up the ante on gross-out humor, he can switch directions in an apparent concession to any dates the Neanderthals may have dragged along to this misogynistic movie. He attempts to give "Tomcats" a romantic happy ending by having confirmed bachelor O'Connell give up his freedom for Elizabeth.

This is demonstrated when O'Connell makes a donation at a sperm bank. Instead of using a porn mag to get the ball rolling he fantasizes about Elizabeth in a soft-focused, "American Beauty"-spoofed bed of roses. Awww, isn't it sweet?

I could shoot holes in the plot or drone on about the overwhelming lack of acting ability (O'Connell and Busey don't act so much as mug for the camera). I could lament the cameos by comedy veterans (Bill Maher, David Ogden Stiers, Garry Marshall) who should be ashamed of themselves or cut into the director for all the scenes in which he's clearly grasping at straws creatively. But what's the point? If I haven't convinced you this movie is garbage by now, I'm wasting my time.

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