Tomcats (The Cornfield #48)

Welcome to hell: Tomcats

A review from 2001, this time hitting the nadir.

In the old days of stupid teen sex comedies, a certain amount of gratuitous female nudity was implicit in the purchase price of the ticket. One could expect a Peeping Tom scene involving the girls’ shower, for instance, or a never-to-be-seen-again starlet doffing her bikini top poolside. It’s not unreasonable to assume T&A in a Spring Break movie, is it? Yet here is how the culture has changed: aside from one F/X shot and a flash of anonymous cleavage in the end-credits outtakes roll, Tomcats contains no naked women. It is, however, obsessively interested in men’s bodies. I worry about this generation of young men, I really do.

The premise of the wretchedly unfunny Tomcats is that a group of guys, hateful idiots all, make a pact. They each contribute to a stock portfolio; the last unmarried man will take all the cash. After seven years in the Nineties bull market, the stake has grown to nearly half a million bucks, and two of the guys remain ball-and-chain-less. Since the callous stud played by Jake Busey is the kind of man capable of extolling the physical sensations in having sex with a woman while she’s vomiting out the car window, his buddy Jerry O’Connell comes across as the movie’s hero, even if he is a misogynistic goon in his own right.

O’Connell needs the money, because he’s deeply in debt to a Las Vegas mobster (played, curiously, by “Politically Incorrect” host Bill Maher). Although all the Tomcats appear to be wealthy—otherwise, how could we root for them?–O’Connell mysteriously can’t ask them for a loan. So he connives to get Busey married off before the Vegas bill comes due. This is where Shannon Elizabeth, the American Pie exchange student, enters the picture.

The writer-director, Gregory Poirier (whose writing credits include the suicide-inducing See Spot Run), appears motivated by the desire to see the philosophical insights of “The Man Show” translated to the big screen. Thus, a girlfriend is run over by a golf cart driven by O’Connell and Busey, a meek librarian is revealed to be a secret S&M dominatrix, and the sign of a good woman is always measured by her ability to drink as much Jagermeister as the guys.

Tomcats is like an X-ray revealing the floating anxieties of men, circa 2001. It begins with a Viagra joke, and moves on to fears/fantasies of wives turning lesbian, the terror of breast-feeding women, and finally testicular cancer. Played for laughs, of course, culminating in an extended sequence in which the excised body part is kicked around hospital hallways and finds its way into the cafeteria. I cannot describe the rest, because I cling to the remaining shreds of civilization I have left. Let’s leave Tomcats in the gutter where it belongs, and re-adjust the levels of cinematic hell, because Porky’s just got bumped up a notch.