FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last Friday, I saw “Splash,” which stars Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies, Catch Me If You Can ), Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Wall Street ), Eugene Levy (A Mighty Wind, Best in Show), John Candy (Planes Trains and Automobiles, Spaceballs), Dody Goodman (Grease, The Chickmunk Adventure), Richard B. Shull (Garbo Talks, Spring Break), and Howard Morris (The Andy Griffith Show [TV series], The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh). It was directed by Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea, The Da Vinci Code), while the screenplay was written by Brian Grazer (Armed and Dangerous, HouseSitter), Bruce Jay Friedman (Stir Crazy, Doctor Detroit), Lowell Ganz (Robots, Parenthood), and Babaloo Mandel (Multiplicity, Where the Heart Is). When Allen Bauer (Hanks) is rescued by a mysterious woman (Hannah) from drowning, she follows him back to where he lives, hoping to spend the next few days with him. Madly in love with her, Allen has yet to know that this woman is in fact a mermaid.
So “Splash”…yeah… I don’t know whose idea it was to make this movie, but I guess it made sense. At a time where the “Star Wars” originals ended their run in theaters, Indiana Jones was huge, and “E.T.” was on the way, why not have a flick about a man falling in love with a mermaid? Especially when it’s Tom Hanks, right? Wrong. I didn’t expect anything from “Splash,” besides what various references to the feature said in other movies or shows (the response wasn’t in good favor of the Ron Howard picture). Why did I see it out of the vast sea of films out there? You got me; I saw an opportunity and thought “why not?” This all isn’t to say that the movie is awful. It’s interesting to see Hanks in his break-out feature as well as a young Eugene Levy, though there isn’t much to grip onto when it comes to “Splash.” The story is often dull, the romance leaves more to be desired, and it follows the tropes all flicks did during its time (and even today): something otherworldly arrives, shakes up someone’s life, and they have to keep it from the government’s hands. At least that wasn’t the whole point to the movie. In fact, it’s difficult to say what was really the driving motive of this as there were quite a few story arcs in the tool box. You’ve got Tom Hanks’ character Allen getting upset over his luck with women, his developing/sudden romance with mermaid Madison, Madison trying to keep her secret, Eugene Levy’s Walter failing to get recognition, and the government hoping to exploit Madison’s being (though that comes in the third act). It’s quite a bit to absorb, and not much of it was written well enough for me to care. Of course, Hanks did a solid job, alongside John Candy, Daryl Hannah, and Eugene Levy respectfully, but their characters just didn’t possess enough strength for me to feel sympathy or emotion for them. At times I understood what Allen was going through (it’s a pretty simple conflict he battles, as most men want to know if they’ll ever find someone they love), but overall there was definitely more to be desired, especially through his and Madison’s relationship. They had good chemistry on-screen, but the characters themselves didn’t do enough for me as a viewer to be satisfied by the film’s end. Rob Howard does all he can to make this flick pop, and in some ways he made a good-looking movie. I liked the atmosphere and some of the shots were cool, though the story took away most of the appeal. Like I stated, I didn’t hate “Splash.” I just didn’t care for it. In the end, it’s a throwaway watch that holds a few chuckles, a young Hanks and Levy, and decent effects. I wouldn’t say it’s a movie to seek after. FINAL SCORE: 61%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: