Mar 18, 2014

Tom Hanks' Bachelor Party

During the 1980s, there was a fad of movies about the crazy maneuvers that hetero-horny guys go through en route to getting laid, usually with tons of female nudity and tons of racism and homophobia, as the guys are waylaid by predatory (but swishy) leathermen, transwomen, and giggling Japanese businessmen.

Bachelor Party (1984) has all of that and more.

The premise: Rick (Tom Hanks, when he was still doing comedy) is about to be married, so his friends, led by Jay (1980s fixture Adrian Zmed) throw him the mother of all bachelor parties, with "chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze."

He vows to remain faithful to his fiance, Debbie (Tawny Kitaen), but her father and snively ex-boyfriend Cole (Robert Prescott) disapprove of the union, and scheme to mess things up.

There are dominatrix hookers, lesbian strippers, male strippers, predatory transwomen, offensive-stereotype Japanese businessmen, panicked homophobic flights, kidnappings, car chases, and several "hilarious" failed suicide attempts.

So why is it worth a look for gay audiences:

1. Rick is pleasantly immune to the homophobia of his friends, and even makes a few comments suggesting homoerotic intent. When his friend Brad tries to slash his wrists with an electric razor, he says "At least our wrist will be smooth and kissable."

2. Buddy-bonding between Rick and Jay.

3. There's a tremendous amount of beefcake. All of Rick's friends strip down at one point or another. There are Chippendales dancers and a male stripper (played by Brett Baxter Clark)

4. Christopher Morley, who played the transwoman "She-Tim," was a well known drag performer of the era.

But be careful -- the homophobia is rather intense, even by 1980s standards.

See also director Neal Israel's Police Academy (1984), with Steve Guttenberg as an unconventional police cadet, with the same combination of borderline-bisexual shenanigans and homophobia.

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